The announcement also came with significant news for Sprint in the US: The 3GPP have included the 2.5GHz spectrum band into the 5G NR NSA specification, which positions the now SoftBank-owned US carrier at the forefront in terms of sub-6GHz 5G spectrum. The decision by the 3GPP TSG RAN meeting to finalize the first implementable 5G NR specification means that the telecoms industry can now start preparing for the rollout of a standardized technology. Other operators such as Japan's NTT Docomo and T-Mobile US said they expect to launch 5G NSA in 2020. This mode will be a cornerstone of 5G in the early years of adoption as mobile carriers introduce network compatibility.
The two companies are also competing for the installation of conduits for Olympic telecommunication networks despite the mediation of the PyeongChang Olympic Organizing Committee, and are having a war of words over technical superiority over the 5G standard which has not been set yet.
Luke Ibbetson, Vodafone's Head of Group R&D, said that this first multi-vendor interoperability test of 5G within days of the completion of the 3GPP standard paves the way for Vodafone to trial commercial grade equipment in the coming year.
5G global standardization is expected to be completed by 2019. These layers have been standardized in the first specifications as the building blocks of 5G NR.
The 3GPP has announced plans to continue developing Release 15, including by adding support for Standalone 5G NR operations.More news: DP World provides new funding for Virgin Hyperloop One
This ahead-of-schedule accord is important to hastening the arrival of 5G speeds.
We're getting closer to 5G.
"When that vote happens, that's really the green light for the ecosystem to start moving to a commercial deployment of 5G", Rob Topol, general manager of 5G Business and Technology for Intel globally, told ZDNet.
While the specs themselves won't be announced until next week, they're said to offer support for the full range of low (600MHz, 700MHz), mid-range (3.5GHz) and high-frequency, millimeter wave (50GHz) spectrum.
5G specs are scheduled to be approved in June 2018.