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NGMN Claims Pole Position in Disaggregation Operating Model, Green Networks and 6G

Frankfurt, Germany: Today, the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance announces its new strategy and claims pole position in addressing the key major Operator & Ecosystem challenges in the coming years.

As an operator driven organisation, NGMN is in a unique position to provide value, guidance and leadership to its members and the whole ecosystem in:

  • Mastering the route to Disaggregation
  • Sustainability / Green Future Networks
  • 6G

Anita Doehler, CEO NGMN, says: “Operators are facing challenges on their route to disaggregation, cloudification and softwarization. One burning topic in this area is the design and execution of effective new E2E operating models. Green Future Networks is another highly important topic the industry ecosystem needs to jointly approach. In addition, early work on 6G has started. Therefore, we have streamlined our Work Programme to focus on these three extremely relevant topics to deliver significant impact in 2021 and beyond. At the same time, we remain committed to further support 5G’s full implementation.”

Mastering the Route to Disaggregation

For mastering disaggregated, cloud- and software-based networks, Mobile Network Operators need to start preparing now for future-proof operating models that are built on the orchestration of powerful ecosystems of solution partners, openness and flexibility to integrate new partners and technologies, highly diverse set of skills and capabilities to drive value and efficiency. NGMN’s new Work Programme will thus focus on the end-to-end operating model, considering, amongst other, the following key aspects: processes, technology, tools and skill requirements. NGMN will provide blueprints as well as relevant guidance towards the industry players and lay out roles and opportunities provided by disaggregation. The initiative aims to shorten time to market and to provide support in the selection and deployment of efficient operating models by Mobile Network Operators.

Providing Impactful Guidance for Green Future Networks

The application of various techniques to improve network energy performance is one fundamental objective for Mobile Network Operators since the number of users, connected devices and general usage continue to grow. The ICT network consumes the most energy in the content delivery process and electricity represents our principal source of greenhouse gas emissions. An additional objective is waste reduction, amongst other enabled by the eco-design of products and equipment. To tackle such important topics, this well-established NGMN project focuses on four major aspects: end-to-end services footprint, eco design, network energy efficiency and on-board metering. Consolidating a common view amongst operators and collaborating with equipment vendors and other industry players enables NGMN to provide a significant industry contribution in achieving UN and GSMA sustainability goals. NGMN plans to release frequent impactful guidance on sustainability to the ecosystem.

 Driving Successful Implementation of 6G

Work focusing on beyond 5G has already started worldwide. The NGMN Alliance strongly believes that societal and operational requirements need to be considered in the development of a new generation. Operators are in a unique position to engage with end users, including vertical industries as well as user groups representing societal needs. The NGMN Alliance is determined to provide early and timely direction for global 6G activities. Its 6G Work Programme currently focuses on vision and drivers, including societal and operational aspects for 6G. This will be followed by use cases and end-to-end system requirements. Actively engaging with different stakeholders and facilitating multilateral cooperation with the wider ecosystem at the right time will support in developing a meaningful vision and drive a successful implementation of 6G in the future. NGMN plans to publish the first version of its “6G Vision & Drivers” White Paper around the end of Q1 of 2021.

Interested industry players are invited to join NGMN in these important initiatives.

NGMN Alliance seeks the rapid development of Option 4 as complement to 5G Standalone

Frankfurt, Germany: Today, the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance releases its latest Operator Position Statement paper urging the development finalization of 5G architecture “Option 4” to support the full realisation of 5G. Its Option 4 recommendation will help many networks to bring new 5G-based services quickly and efficiently to market whilst also providing a future-proof evolution that maintains competitive user data rates for 5G users.

A migration to 5G Standalone is an important evolutionary step for 5G with the introduction of a new 5G core network and the transfer of the master radio interface technology from LTE to New Radio (NR) technology. To ensure the most cost and spectrum efficient use of the network which maximises the full 5G advantages, advanced 5G users should be able to connect in parallel via both NR and existing LTE technology. Otherwise new 5G Standalone users will sometimes receive lower data rates than existing Non-Standalone 5G and LTE-only users.

“Development completion of Option 4 is urgently needed to enable all operators to invest in a new 5G core network without compromising user data rate performance,” said Arash Ashouriha, Chairman of the NGMN Alliance. “Advanced 5G users using 5G Standalone should be able to access LTE on top of NR for a seamless service experience”.

NGMN concludes that Option 4 supporting a 5G core and dual connectivity with NR acting as a master is required so that baseline 5G NR radio performance can be enhanced through the use of LTE on top. 5G Standalone users can then access both NR and LTE spectrum in the lower frequency bands supporting wider coverage when it is beneficial to do so.

Raimund Walsdorf, Technology Architecture & Innovation Access & Home Networks, Deutsche Telekom and NGMN project lead said: “Option 4 development will support many network operators planning an initial 5G Standalone service launch today or a more widespread launch in the future. This option benefits operators to more efficiently migrate spectrum from LTE to NR, while also relaxing the pressure on operators to refarm from LTE to NR as long as spectrum remains dedicated to LTE”.

Anita Döhler, CEO, NGMN Alliance added: “NGMN is committed to support an efficient introduction of 5G Standalone (SA) networks to help the industry to deliver on the performance promise of 5G to end-users. Availability of Option 4 in addition to other options will help to better meet end-user demands in years to come.”

The white paper is a result of an ongoing NGMN project which aims to conduct a trial of Option 4 in 2021. This will encourage Option 4 development within the 5G ecosystem with the aim that 5G Standalone can be introduced in all networks in a timely manner. The support of network and terminal suppliers is sought to progress the trial.

The full White Paper titled, Option 4 as a 5G SA complement White Paper can be found here.

Option-4-for-5G-Standalone

Option 4 as a 5G SA Complement

With this Operator Position Statement paper NGMN is urging the development finalization of 5G architecture “Option 4” to support the full realisation of 5G.

NGMN concludes in this document that Option 4 supporting a 5G core and dual connectivity with NR acting as a master is required so that baseline 5G NR radio performance can be enhanced through the use of LTE on top. 5G Standalone users can then access both NR and LTE spectrum in the lower frequency bands supporting wider coverage when it is beneficial to do so.

NGMN 5G Smart Devices Supporting Network Slicing

5G Smart Devices Supporting Network Slicing

The 5G network system can provide on-demand network slices to satisfy different service requirements. However, how to create traffic connection for network slicing in 5G devices internally is still a technical gap. The design of Network Slicing function in 5G devices has to rely on 5G devices operation system as well as the traffic descriptors of the service between the upper layer and the modem, which results in that the current 5G devices does not support the use of network slicing. Therefore, the fundamental purpose of this document is to provide the reference design of network slicing solution in the 5G devices.

NGMN and O-RAN ALLIANCE Sign Co-operation Agreement

Frankfurt, Germany – Today, the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance and the O-RAN ALLIANCE have announced to strengthen their relationship and to foster a closer co-operation in the area of Radio Access Network (RAN) decomposition of 4G and 5G networks.

The newly signed co-operation agreement brings together two widely recognised industry organisations in the field of open and standardised 5G networks. NGMN and the O-RAN ALLIANCE aim to enable and to support the timely and successful delivery of 5G-based communication solutions for acceleration and adoption of open and intelligent RAN networks to the market with a global open ecosystem. Starting today, both parties intend to achieve this by initially working together in activities related to transport for disaggregated RAN architectures, eventually expanding the collaboration to other areas.

“NGMN and the O-RAN ALLIANCE share the mission to support the standardisation of 5G interoperable networks”, said Anita Doehler, CEO of the NGMN Alliance. “We are looking forward to a close co-operation with the O-RAN ALLIANCE and to exchange our views on the RAN decomposition for 5G networks, in particular the various RAN functional splits and the transport requirements to support the various deployment options. As a wide number of industry activities are related to this subject, we also look to encourage industry alignment.”

“Since its formation in 2018, the O-RAN ALLIANCE has successfully delivered new standards for an open and intelligent RAN,” said Alex Choi, COO of the O-RAN ALLIANCE and SVP Technology Strategy & Innovation, Deutsche Telekom. “As the transport is the glue that connects radio sites, edge data centres and centralised clouds in a disaggregated RAN architecture, significant effort is required to design and define a robust and scalable transport to meet stringent requirements of future networks. We look forward to working with NGMN to achieve this and we encourage industry alignment.”

NGMN Alliance Publishes Final Deliverable on 5G Architecture Framework

Frankfurt, Germany – Today, the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance has announced the latest requirements for a 5G End-to-End (E2E) Architecture Framework. It aims to advance the 5G ecosystem to enable heterogenous access, virtualisation, autonomic capabilities, forward-looking service enablers, and emerging usage scenarios that support 5G’s full potential. The content of this publication builds on the architectural concepts and directions described in the first NGMN 5G White Paper, and further related NGMN publications.

“This is an important development and another step in our efforts to support SDO’s in standardizing 5G technologies. NGMN encourages the development of interoperable and market enabling specifications, which will ultimately allow for realisation of emerging use case scenarios,” stated Sebastian Thalanany, US Cellular, and NGMN project lead of the 5G E2E Architecture Framework project.

Essential to an evolving 5G ecosystem, the latest requirements from NGMN describe the next steps needed to advance forward-looking technologies and use cases that will enable network service providers to offer new capabilities and enhance the customer experience. With many new 5G use cases to deliver, diverse service deployment from an end-to-end perspective is a challenge. NGMN addresses this by looking at agile service deployment as one of the objectives of a cognitive Platform as a Service, with a focus on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning data models.

This White Paper outlines the requirements in terms of entities and functions that characterise the capabilities of an E2E framework. Architectural perspectives and considerations underscore the definition of the E2E framework requirements. This goes in hand with the service categories – Enhanced Mobile Broadband, Massive Internet of Things and Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communications – envisioned for 5G.

Furthermore, the document analyses in detail autonomic networking, which provides a scalable, customisable, and self-organizing model for system-wide automation. Here, virtualisation and programmability are adopted in an end-to-end manner. Self-organization is an integral aspect of autonomic networking for automation that dynamically learns and adapts to changing conditions in the system and its environment, while satisfying service KPIs and the quality of service experience.

“This is another important milestone for NGMN to enable the 5G ecosystem to deliver on its promise and demonstrates the excellence of our Partnership,” commented Anita Döhler, CEO NGMN Alliance.

The published results of its 5G End-to-End (E2E) Architecture Framework project can be found on the NGMN website.

E2E Architecture Framework 4.31

5G End-to-End Architecture Framework v4.31

This document delineates the requirements in terms of entities and functions that characterise the capabilities of an E2E (end-to-end) framework. Architectural perspectives and considerations associated with the service categories – eMBB, mIoT, URLLC – envisioned for 5G (Fifth Generation) underscore the delineation of the E2E framework requirements. These requirements are intended as guidance in the development of interoperable and market enabling specifications for a continuing advancement of the 5G ecosystem of heterogenous access, virtualization, autonomic capabilities, forward-looking service enablers, and emerging usage scenarios.

NGMN Alliance Launches Green Future Networks Project

Frankfurt, Germany – With its Green Future Networks project, the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance will introduce aligned green targets to address climate action demands across the telecoms ecosystem. Working towards improving energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions and increasing the use of recyclable materials, the project strives to address the industry’s social responsibility in regard to the impact of the mobile ecosystem on the environment.

The NGMN 5G White Paper 2 has already touched on this subject and will be used as a basis to guide the project, which will have a particular focus on four main topics:

  • End-to-End services footprint, considering not only the energy consumed during service but also the production and disposal of equipment used to provide the service
  • Eco-design of equipment and products
  • Network energy efficiency, e.g. to define the next steps on advanced sleep modes and to explore the on-line network dimensioning by using AI techniques
  • On-board metering in order to provide means to control the energy consumption.

“NGMN is in a unique position to consolidate a common view in the operator’s community to foster the adoption of green solutions, including a common methodology for end-to-end life cycle analysis and eco-design of products. This shared view is essential for enabling a coherent and common green strategy among Telcos, and to fulfil the requirements of regulators and the next customers’ generation,” stated Ana Maria Galindo Serrano, responsible for Green ITN Performance & Communication at Orange, and lead of the Green Future Networks project.

Increasing the usage of green technology and enabling networks with greater energy efficiency is fundamental for operators, since the number and type of customers, connected devices and traffic will continue to grow significantly over the next few years, which may result in an increase of network energy consumption. To tackle this topic, the project will look into the use of renewable energy to reduce the energy carbon footprint and discuss insights on the reduction of the environmental footprint of networks.

“Creating a cleaner and more sustainable mobile network ecosystem is of the utmost global importance and therefore, one of our main goals. We are proud to bring together the entire NGMN Alliance to jointly work on taking action to contribute our share in reducing the risks and effects of climate change, while at the same time achieving significant cost savings for our operator partners as well as many other industry players,” commented Anita Döhler, CEO of the NGMN Alliance.

NGMN Alliance Publishes Second 5G White Paper

Frankfurt, Germany – The Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance published its second 5G White Paper and has launched further projects based on its conclusions.

After the highly recognised NGMN 5G White Paper published in 2015, the NGMN Alliance followed up with another leading message to the mobile industry demonstrating how NGMN continues to drive the ecosystem forward.

Whilst initial 5G services have been launched, there is much more underway to realise the full potential of 5G. The NGMN White Paper lays out how 5G is expected to increasingly enable new business models and many new use cases, and gives its recommendation on how to realise the full benefits of virtualisation, cloud, edge computing and more.

One of the obvious conclusions is, that the industry must avoid fragmentation by adopting global standards with open, interoperable interfaces and application programming interfaces, thereby delivering the promise of agility and scalability.

Some of the key elements the 5G White Paper 2 highlights are:

  • A common Operator platform architecture is desired in order to allow edge computing to be used on a global scale.
  • Mobile Network Operators are uniquely placed to provide a fully integrated solution for Verticals that encompasses networks, clouds and platforms, with dynamic customisation, partnerships, end-to-end management, carrier-grade security and efficient spectrum use. Mobile Network Operators and Verticals should increase their engagement to develop meaningful, mutually-beneficial partnerships and business models in order to fully deliver the 5G potential.
  • Increased focus needs to be given to further improving energy efficiency, sustainability, social wellbeing, trust, and to digital inclusion.

Drawing on some of the challenges and actions identified in the White Paper, the NGMN Alliance recently launched two projects: Future Networks Cloud Native Platform, to create a holistic view on how network cloudification should be exploited, and Future Green Networks, to drive energy efficiency and carbon footprint reduction.

Nick Sampson, Director, Wireless Access and Core Network Standardisation, Orange, and co-editor of the White Paper, mentions: “Building on NGMN’s first 5G White Paper, this document emphasises key actions to support the continuing delivery of the 5G promise, in terms of enabling new business models and opportunities, and achieving the required agility to meet a myriad of requirements from existing and new users.”

Javan Erfanian, Distinguished Member of Technical Staff, Bell Canada, and co-editor of this White Paper indicates: “Following our 5G launch, we are pleased to continue working with the global industry and the entire ecosystem to drive and realise the full 5G vision for the benefit of all our customers. The NGMN White Paper 2 targets the next phase in this journey both to outline key requirements and success factors, including the new and extended value created and delivered by the mobile network operators working together with a broad partner ecosystem.”

“The 5G White Paper 2 provides a guideline for the 5G evolution with new visions, new use cases and new challenges. Engagement with Verticals is identified and highlighted to fully realise the NGMN’s 5G vision. This document further describes the unique and expanded role of the mobile network operator as a network and services provider. It is worthy of being the reference for producing 5G specifications and promoting the 5G ecosystem,” says Nan Hu, Lead Researcher and Manager of 5G Standardisation, China Mobile Research Institute, China Mobile, and third co-editor of the White Paper.

Anita Döhler, CEO, NGMN, points out: “The NGMN White Paper 2 describes the 5G objective of enabling and contributing to prosperity and productivity with significant energy and resource efficiency, sustainability, social wellbeing, trust and inclusion and promotes the engagement with the wider ecosystem to fully address the 5G outreach.  I would like to thank everyone who worked on this position paper, which is a very valuable asset for the overall industry. As stated above, our White Paper kicked off several new activities already. This is an exciting time to be joining the NGMN Alliance and I look forward to continuing on the journey to 5G success and beyond.”

NGMN - 5G White Paper 2

5G White Paper 2

NGMN published its first 5G White Paper in 2015, providing an operator vision of 5G and serving as a guideline for 5G definition and design. Since then, the White Paper has been referenced by standards development and industry organisations when producing 5G specifications and promoting the 5G ecosystem.
This second 5G White Paper begins with a review and expansion of the vision in the first 5G White Paper. It then highlights some of the vertical industries that 5G will progressively support, showing how mobile network operators can provide both network and services to meet the varied requirements of the different markets. A high-level description is provided of key technology enablers that have matured or been identified since the first 5G White Paper, and that are required to meet the Verticals’ requirements. Specific consideration is given to sustainability, the latest considerations and recommendations on IPR and spectrum are provided, and we conclude with some key messages and actions to industry. Sections listing abbreviations, definitions and references then complete the document.