3GPP Plenary 86: 09-12 December 2019

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3GPP Plenary 86: 09-12 December 2019

This debrief on 3GPP #86 (December 2019) is a valued contribution from Hans van der Veen, NEC Europe, 3GPP specialist and member of the 5G-IA Pre-Standardization WG. 

Its purpose is to help track progress of 5G standardisation with 3GPP as part of the activities of the 5G-IA Working Group. The debrief not only tracks overall progress but also pinpoints new study and work items (SIDs; WIDs) showing where 5G stakeholders from the cellular community, industry verticals and satellite specialists can make contributions. 


With the performance part having completed at RAN#86, the main Rel-15 Work Item New Radio (NR) Access Technology is now finally and officially closed.

NR: TSDSI non-critical extensions (LSin: RP-193068; response LSout: RP-193210)

TSDSI requested retroactive allocation of RRC bits for extensions developed completely outside 3GPP. RAN responded that it was not possible to ensure compatibility retroactively, that it would severely compromise the efficiency of RRC and that TSDSI is invited to make its change poposals inside 3GPP.


Rel-16 Planning (aka 5G Phase 2)

Stage 1: frozen December 2018 without exceptions.

Stage 2: frozen June 2019 with exceptions (3 SA2 items still open in December 2019: eV2X, CIoT, eNA)

Stage 3: freezing target March 2020. (ASN.1 freeze planned for June 2020).

The following Rel-16 work was completed and the corresponding SIs and WIs closed:

-     SI: Study on NR beyond 52.6 GHz

-     SI: Study on Solutions for NR to support non-terrestrial networks (NTN)

-     SI: Study on Enhancement for disaggregated gNB architecture

-     SI: Study on Local NR positioning in NG-RAN

-     SI: Study on High power UE (power class 2) to EN-DC(1 LTE FDD band and 1 NR TDD band)

-     WI core: eNB(s) Architecture Evolution for E-UTRAN and NG-RAN

-     WI core: Further performance enhancement for LTE in high speed scenario

Work Item Summaries (descriptions of features in the release after the work has actually finished)

-     RP-192964 eNB(s) Architecture Evolution for E-UTRAN and NG-RAN

-     RP-192721 Further performance enhancement for LTE in high speed scenario

-     SP-191223 5G_eLCS

-     SP-191229 RDSSI

-     SP-191247 Service Interactivity

-     SP-191252 OAM aspects of LTE and WLAN integration.

-     SP-191277 Volume Based Charging Aspects for VoLTE

NR: Lower UE Capabilities (rejected WF: RP-193245)

A large number of companies was interested in allowing lower UE capabilities in all frequency bands, but another large group of (mainly) operators opposed this if this affected 'their' bands. No solution was achieved during this meeting.

New RAN4 Work Item:

-     RP-193225 New WI: Over the air (OTA) base station (BS) testing TR


Rel-17 Planning

Stage 1: frozen December 2019 with exceptions (2 SA1 items still open: eCAV, MPS2)

RAN "Feature Packaging" ("Content definition") achieved December 2019 and definition of "inter-TSG coordination areas" started (to be progressed further by March 2020)

Stage 2: freezing target September 2020 (tentative)

Stage 3: freezing target June 2021 (tentative)

(ASN.1 freeze planned for September 2021 (tentative)).

RAN-SA Alignment (SA report: RP-192370; SA decision (after RAN meeting closed): SP-191381)

In a joint meeting, SA proposed an 18-month release timeline but RAN will stick to a 15-month timeline. The issue was not resolved during the meeting. However, SA's decision (after RAN meeting closed) seems to point to a 15-month release timeline with an already foreseen extension for some of the Work Items (e.g. ProSe, MBMS). Content-wise, the planned content in SA and RAN does seem reasonably well-aligned, though it will depend on looking at the details.

RAN timeline:


RAN WI/SI package (near-final version: RP-193216; slide set without Tdoc number circulated on 3GPP RAN mail reflector after meeting)

Most of the time this meeting was dedicated to putting together a Rel-17 'package' of WIs and SIs, based on the outcome of the mail reflector discussions and other inputs. The scope of all proposals was reduced, in many cases significantly, to fit a 15-month release. The result for RAN1, RAN2 and RAN3 is shown below. RAN4 work is expected to be approved in RAN#88 (June 2020) and no further new WIs/SIs are planned to be approved until RAN#89 (RAN1) and RAN#90 (RAN2, RAN3):

Led by RAN1:

-    RP-193238 New SI: Study on Support of Reduced Capability NR Devices

-    RP-193257 New WI: NR sidelink enhancement

-    RP-193259 New SI: Study on Supporting NR from 52.6 GHz to 71 GHz

-    RP-193229 New WI: Extending current NR operation to 71GHz

-    RP-193240 New SI: Study on NR coverage enhancement

-    RP-193133 New WI: Further enhancements on MIMO for NR

-    RP-193237 New SI: Study on Positioning enhancements for NR

-    RP-193260 New WI: NR Dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS)

-    RP-193241 New SI: Study on XR Evaluations for NR

-    RP-193264 New WI: Enhancements for NB-IoT and LTE-MTC

Led by RAN2:

-     RP-193252 New WI: NR small data transmissions in INACTIVE state

-     RP-193253 New SI: Study on NR Sidelink Relay

-     RP-193263 New WI: Support for Multi-SIM devices

-     RP-193248 New WI: NR Multicast and Broadcast Services

-     RP-193233 New WI: Enhanced Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and URLLC support

-     RP-193234 New WI: Solutions for NR to support non-terrestrial networks (NTN)

-     RP-193235 New SI: Study on NB-IoT/eMTC support for Non-Terrestrial Network

-     RP-193251 New WI: Enhancements to Integrated Access and Backhaul for NR

-     RP-193239 New WI: UE Power Saving Enhancements

-     RP-193249 New WI: Multi-Radio Dual-Connectivity enhancements

-     RP-193256 New SI: Study on NR QoE management and optimizations for diverse services

-     RP-193254 New SI: Study on Enhancement of RAN Slicing

Led by RAN3:

-     RP-193255 New WI: Enhancement of data collection for SON/MDT in NR

-     RP-193181 New WI: Enhanced eNB(s) architecture evolution for E-UTRAN