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Initial priorities for the evolution of LTE in Release-13

by Dino Flore, 3GPP RAN Chairman, September 20, 2014

While the completion of Release 12 is well underway, 3GPP RAN is starting to work on next generation LTE enhancements. Four major Release 13 projects have already been approved. Others will likely be added in the coming months.

LTE in unlicensed (aka LAA)

The goal is to study enhancements for LTE to operate in unlicensed spectrum. While licensed spectrum remains 3GPP operators’ top priority to deliver advanced services and user experience, the opportunistic use of unlicensed spectrum is becoming an important complement to meet the growing traffic demand. This feature can then become an attractive option for operators to make use of unlicensed spectrum with a unified network, offering potential operational cost saving, improved spectral efficiency and a better user experience.

An essential component of the study is to ensure coexistence between LTE with WiFi and to provide a fair opportunity in accessing the unlicensed spectrum. In terms of deployment scenarios, the focus will be on Licensed-Assisted Aggregation (LAA) operation to aggregate a primary cell - using licensed spectrum - to deliver critical information and guaranteed Quality of Service, and a secondary cell - using unlicensed spectrum - to opportunistically boost datarate. The secondary cell operating in unlicensed spectrum could be configured either as downlink-only cell or contain both uplink and downlink.

Details of the Study Item can be found in RP-141664.

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LTE Mission Critical Applications

TSG#65, Edinburgh, September 2014

3GPP has created a new Working Group to undertake specification work for applications in the mission critical communications space.

The 3GPP SA Plenary meeting (TSG SA#65), in Edinburgh this week, approved the creation of WG SA6, to initially focus on the Mission Critical Push to Talk (MCPTT) application in Release 13 while developing in to the generic home for all future 3GPP mission critical application work - as defined by stage 1 service requirements, on top of a common architecture.

The goal at SA#65 was to create an organizational setup that is equally attractive for all relevant stakeholders of this industry. To emphasise this, a liaison statement has been sent out by TSG SA, outlining the main tasks that have been identified for SA6 and noting the relationships between ongoing work in existing groups.

TSG SA#65 appointed Andrew Howell (U.K. Home Office) as Convenor for the new Group until formal elections are held. The December SA Plenary - TSG-SA#66 - is expected to formally approve the Terms of Reference of SA6, at which time the group will become operational.

3GPP supports High Efficiency Video Coding

3GPP Release 12 specifications now include support for the HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) video codec – H.265, providing a technical solution for highly efficient delivery of download, streaming and conversational video services.

Addressing the challenge of ever growing video traffic over mobile networks, HEVC provides a remedy for operators to increase quality of experience while at the same time reducing bandwidth consumption of video services, typically by a factor of 2 compared to the best technologies available prior to Release-12.

3GPP SA4 - the Codec working group - completed their study of the compression efficiency of HEVC in the context of 3GPP services by conducting objective and subjective tests, producing the 26.906 technical report to document the findings. Accordingly, the HEVC video codec is specified with decoding capabilities conforming to the Main profile, Main tier, up to level 3.1 thus allowing HD video services in 720p up to 25 or 30 frames per second. 

LTE meets the need in 3GPP

Edinburgh, September 16, 2014

3GPP has used a 4G (LTE) cellular connection during the 65th Plenary meetings in Edinburgh, from the 9th – 17th September, using the project’s own technology as the primary source of connectivity for the first time in a major meeting.

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