Together with enhancements aimed at existing use cases such as mobile broadband, industrial automation and vehicle-to-everything, 3GPP release 17 introduces support for new ones including public safety, non-terrestrial networks and non-public networks. Meanwhile, the early planning of release 18 indicates that it will significantly evolve 5G in the areas of artificial intelligence and extended reality.
The 3GPP has passed the midpoint in its work on its release 17 (Rel-17) specifications, with plans to publish them at the end of the first quarter of 2022. Meanwhile, the discussions on the scope of Rel-18 are well underway. In fact, 3GPP has already announced its decision to recognize Rel-18 as the first release of 5G Advanced to highlight the significant evolution of the 5G System (5GS) that it represents.
Several of the features in Rel-17 are intended to enhance network performance for existing services and use cases, while others address new use cases and deployment options. 5G Advanced will build on Rel-17, providing intelligent network solutions and covering numerous new use cases in addition to previously defined use cases and deployment options. Figure 1 shows Ericsson’s view on 3GPP’s tentative time plan for releases up until 2028.