Some of the largest chip suppliers and equipment makers in the small cell industry have partnered with the 4G Americas to release white papers, schedule workshops, and hash out their requirements for an official 5G standard, which could be published by 2020.
Sue Monahan, chief executive of the Small Cell Forum, said in a statement that the collaboration aims to create “a clearer path to 5G deployment” as well as submit common requirements to standard bodies like the 3G Partnership Project and the the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission.
The Small Cell Forum lobbies for widespread small cells and heterogeneous networks, which consist of a patchwork quilt of small cells, Wi-Fi access points, and traditional cellular stations. Several members like Alcatel-Lucent and Qualcomm are also on the board of 4G Americas, which advocates for the current cellular standard.
Chris Pearson, president of 4G Americas and the group’s 3GPP spokesman, said in a statement that small cells with support for LTE-Advanced, carrier aggregation, LTE in the unlicensed spectrum, and licensed assisted access represent intermediary steps on the road to 5G networks.
The International Telecommunications Union – more commonly known as the ITU – has already released its roadmap for an official 5G standard, which is scheduled for 2020. In addition, ITU plans to define 5G networks as those capable of sending data at 20 gigabits per second.