NGMN Alliance Pushes for 5G Work Programme

The Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance announces the launch of a comprehensive work-programme highlighting its commitment to guide the industry, based on global end-to-end requirements for 5G.


Earlier this year, the NGMN Alliance published its highly recognised 5G White Paper providing consolidated 5G operator requirements. In its June Forum and Board meetings, NGMN has now launched a 5G-focused work-programme that will build on and further evolve the White Paper guidelines with the intention to support the standardisation and subsequent availability of 5G for 2020 and beyond.

The NGMN Partners – world-wide leading Operators, Vendors and Research Institutes – agreed on the main 5G NGMN work-items for the coming months:

  • Business Principles: Business models, operator capabilities, vertical industry services
  • Requirements & Architecture: Technical requirements, architecture guidelines, SDO input
  • Spectrum: Spectrum position for WRC-15, 5G spectrum requirements and evaluation
  • IPR: Standard Essential Patent (SEP) declaration and assessment, 5G patent pool

The NGMN Partners have committed a significant number of experts to contribute to the different teams of the work-programme. Key tasks of those teams will be: the development of 5G requirements and design principles, the analysis of potential 5G solutions, and the assessment of future use-cases and business models. The outcome of the work will be shared and discussed with all relevant industry-organisations, SDOs and research groups.

"The NGMN 5G White Paper provided essential input for the work of the main industry bodies", said Peter Meissner, CEO of the NGMN Alliance. "Together with our global partners from industry and research, we will now implement a 5G work-programme ensuring that future solutions will meet our ambitious targets."


In particular, the NGMN work items will aim to reach the following objectives and will comprise the following activities:


Business Principles

The mission of the Business Principles Group is to ensure that 5G will be architected and underpinned by solid business principles. The activity will focus on the identification and prioritisation of future operator capabilities to be made available to partners in order to enhance the customer proposition. Another key aspect will be the interaction with vertical industry representatives to assess the market potential and also the complexity and cost drivers of related 5G solutions.


Requirements & Architecture

The Requirements & Architecture project aims to provide timely guidance on 5G solutions to all relevant industry stakeholders. The project work streams will define technical requirements for enhanced mobile broadband services, vertical industries and 5G security. Additionally it will consider end-to-end architecture design principles and recommendations for the management and orchestration of 5G networks. The results will be delivered to all major SDOs, to the ITU and other 5G related organisations.



The objective of the Spectrum work will be to ensure continuous contributions to international fora and groups regarding NGMN spectrum requirements, in order to ensure the allocation of sufficient spectrum for future 5G services. In 2015, the team will develop and provide an NGMN spectrum perspective for WRC-15.  Leading up to WRC-19, evaluations and studies on new frequency ranges and bands for 5G will be carried out and requirements based on this activity will be delivered in an NGMN 5G Spectrum White Paper.



The IPR team will engage with relevant industry partners to develop implementation plans for the 5G IPR recommendations outlined in the NGMN 5G White Paper. Hence, the activity aims to improve 5G Standard Essential Patent (SEP) declarations, which are already in use, and to establish independent 5G SEP assessments. Furthermore, NGMN recommends to explore and to establish an appropriate 5G patent pool framework. In addition the IPR team will also address the emerging need for software licensing in the mobile industry and, in particular, as regards Open Source.



Q&A on the NGMN 5G Work Programme

1. What is the role of NGNM on the way to the fully mobile and connected society?

The primary role of the NGMN Alliance is to enable and drive the creation of commonly accepted and global standards with the objective to expand and evolve the mobile broadband experience to the benefit of all customers. NGMN acts as a facilitator allowing our partners to develop these standards in SDO’s like 3GPP and others.

Coming from business requirements and use cases, the NGMN operators strive to establish clear architectural, functionality and performance targets for network infrastructure and devices as well as fundamental requirements for network deployment and management.  The focus of NGMN’s work-programme comprising all our partners from industry and academia is on 5G while further supporting as well the development of LTE-Advanced and its ecosystem.


2. What is the purpose of the recently published NGNM 5G White Paper?

NGMN has had a central role in the definition of operator requirements for LTE and LTE Advanced. In the meantime, LTE has become a truly global and mainstream mobile technology, and will continue to support the customer and market needs for many years to come. In 2014 NGMN has developed requirements for the next generation of mobile broadband technologies which is commonly called 5G. Particular focus during this process has been on the needs of mobile network operators. These requirements are published in the NGMN 5G White Paper and they were initially communicated at Mobile World Congress 2015 and shortly after at the NGMN Industry Conference & Exhibition. This White Paper is going to serve as a guideline for 5G definition, architecture and design, taking particularly into account the demand of consumers, enterprises, vertical industries, and service providers in 2020 and beyond. Again, the 5G White Paper is key to achieve NGMN’s primary objective to enable and support 5G as a global standard.


3. What will 5G allow us to do compared with today?

5G will be an end-to-end system environment to enable a fully mobile and connected society. It empowers value creation enabled by sustainable business models. Typical use cases for 5G are high capacity / high performance outdoor and indoor broadband access in dense urban areas, higher user mobility, Internet of Things, extreme real-time communication, ultra-reliable and lifeline communication, as well as broadcast-like services.


4. How will 5G enrich our everyday life according to the White Paper?

In addition to supporting the evolution of the established prominent mobile broadband use cases, 5G will support countless emerging use cases with a high variety of applications. As already mentioned, 5G will allow us to cover use cases ranging from “Internet of Things” applications with very low bandwidth requirements to use cases with a very high demand on data rate and latency. Furthermore, NGMN envisages delay-sensitive video applications, high speed entertainment applications in vehicles, and “mobility on demand” services for connected objects. There will also be new services enabled in the health and safety area with extreme requirements in terms of system reliability. In addition, future services will be delivered across a fully heterogeneous environment and a wide range of devices such as smartphones, wearables, and Machine Type Communication.


5. Which demands must networks of the future fulfil to manage the tremendous growth in connectivity and traffic density?

The 5G use cases demand very diverse and sometimes extreme requirements. In the NGMN White Paper, requirements have been defined in six distinct areas: User experience, system performance, devices, enhanced services, business models, network deployment & operation. It is anticipated that a single solution to satisfy all the extreme requirements at the same time may lead to over-specification and high cost. Nevertheless, several use cases are anticipated to be active concurrently in the same operator network, thus requiring a high degree of flexibility and scalability of 5G networks. NGMN envisions an architecture that leverages the structural separation of hardware and software, as well as the programmability offered by SDN and NFV. As such, the 5G architecture will be a native SDN/ NFV architecture covering aspects ranging from devices, (mobile/ fixed) infrastructure, network functions, value enabling capabilities and all the management functions to orchestrate the 5G system. On the radio access side, it will be essential to provide enhanced antenna technologies for massive MIMO at frequencies below 6GHz and to develop new antenna designs within practical form factors for large number of antenna elements at higher frequencies. 


6. Which business models have been identified in the White Paper?

It is an essential requirement that 5G provides a future-proof technology platform allowing the evolution of existing business models in both retail and wholesale offerings. Furthermore, it should open up opportunities to create completely new business models without having an impact on network architecture. For operators, the capability to evolve and enable new business models should be supported in a cost efficient manner, without having architectural impact. Using 5G networks, third party service providers should be able to offer their services in a very short time-to-market manner and based on mutual service level agreements. In addition, operators will support vertical industries, and contribute to the mobilization of industries and industry processes. Partnerships will be established on multiple layers ranging from sharing the infrastructure, to exposing specific network capabilities as an end to end service, and integrating partners’ services into the 5G system through a rich and software oriented capability set.