Mobile technology solutions provider InterDigital (News - Alert) Inc. has joined 5TONIC, which is described as Spain’s first 5G laboratory.
The laboratory, which operates in Madrid, was founded by communications service provider Telefonica (News - Alert) and research institute IMDEA Networks. CommScope, Ericsson Spain, and Intel are also involved in the effort.
That effort is to provide an open environment in which academics and industry players can collaborate on 5G projects to advance business and technology.
“5TONIC's mission is to help define 5G application scenarios and provide lab capabilities to outline suitable 5G infrastructure,” the organization explains. “The laboratory will operate at least until the first 5G products are commercially viable, which is expected to happen approximately in 2020.”
The 2020 timeline may be the view of 5TONIC. But recent comments by cellular industry giants indicate 5G could arrive a whole lot sooner.
As we reported last week, Verizon (News - Alert) executive Matt Ellis recently said that his employer is confident it will be able to roll out 5G commercially next year. Around the same time, Nokia (News - Alert) CEO Rajeev Suri said he expects significant 5G trials to take place next year. And, he said, “meaningful deployments” of 5G should be in place in China, the U.S., and elsewhere by 2019. The Nokia leader added that his company initially expected 5G to take off in the 2020-2021 timeframe.
The 3GPP at its March plenary in Croatia agreed to a work plan proposal to accelerate the 5G New Radio specification schedule. The intermediate milestone the group discussed would enable 3GPP-based large scale trials and deployments as early as 2019, as wireless technology giant Qualcomm noted. Those involved in that effort include AT&T, Ericsson, NTT DOCOMO, Qualcomm (News - Alert), SK Telecom, and Vodafone. But Qualcomm in that same blog posting also mentioned 2020.
“The next few years will be extremely exciting and challenging in the industry, as we continue to progress toward making our 5G vision a reality through technology standardization, prototyping and trialing, and ecosystem creation,” blogged Qualcomm, which was a leader in driving the technology direction of past iterations of cellular networks. “In fact, in addition to the approved Release 15 5G NR work plan, 3GPP also just approved the next wave of new 5G Study Items at [March’s] Plenary Meeting that will define further evolution of 5G services and capabilities for deployments in 2020 and beyond.”
Edited by Alicia Young