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Maritime Communication Services over 5G systems

Looking at the modernization of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) in the context of 3GPP specification work.

December 19, 2018

By Hyounhee Koo (SyncTechno), 3GPP MARCOM rapporteur

The first 3GPP Technical Specification covering service requirements (Stage 1) for the support of maritime communication (MARCOM) over 3GPP systems (TS 22.119) was approved last week at the TSG SA Plenary meeting in Sorrento.

The maritime sector, particularly the International Maritime Organization (IMO), have been working on Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) modernization for maritime safety – for terrestrial and satellite systems – to close the ‘information gap’ at sea. In this endeavor, the government of the Republic of Korea and Korean Register ( have led the way by advocating 3GPP standard-based networks, such as LTE and 5G, for maritime usage.

The work of 3GPP on bringing together 5G use cases for a variety of vertical domains is creating a unified communication platform that is now a prime candidate to provide a new wave of GMDSS modernization and for broader 5G maritime services.

However, there is work to do. Whereas 3GPP systems exist on land, providing a mature terrestrial radio environment, this is not the case for maritime. The first step that the 3GPP groups and the maritime sector have to achieve is to bring maritime communication into the scope of 3GPP standardization.

A step forward has been achieved with the approval of Stage 1 of the Maritime Communication Services over 3GPP System specification - TS 22.119.

RAN adjusts schedule for 2nd wave of 5G specifications

December 14, 2018

by Balazs Bertenyi, Chairman 3GPP TSG RAN

At the TSG RAN plenary, held in Sorrento, December 10 – 13, the group made some decisions with respect to the delivery schedule – or in 3GPP language ‘freeze schedule’ for the 2nd wave of 5G specifications. The figure below depicts the adjusted overall schedule.

late drop pic2  

20 Years – a promising start

December 12, 2018

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the creation of 3GPP, delegates have attended a social event at the close of business on day 3 of the 82nd Plenary meetings, in Sorrento this week.

Back in 2008, we celebrated ten years that had built on GSM’s historic Worldwide1 success and evolved it to a new 3rd Generation - fit for mobile broadband. By that time we had also started on the path to deliver LTE specifications, which - over the next ten years - would become the fastest growing mobile technology of our time, with LTE-Advanced and LTE-Advanced Pro established as the World standard for 4G.

There is a great deal of pride here this week that 20 years has been clocked-up by 3GPP, but the greatest satisfaction is that with the work plan for 5G the project is well placed to remain relevant for the foreseeable future. After 20 years of existence, that is an achievement worth celebrating. 

Interoperability and compatibility of 5G specifications

November 27, 2018

By the 3GPP RAN and RAN WG Chairs

Following the freeze of 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) specifications in March 2018 and 5G Standalone (SA) specifications in September 2018 3GPP has been continuing its efforts to ensure full functional integrity and interoperability of 5G NR specifications, especially in light of the imminent first deployments.

There has recently been a lot of industry interest in some of the corrections to the 5G NR specifications, on whether they are backwards compatible (BC) or non backwards compatible (NBC), and possible consequences for network deployment plans and chipset/device plans. Here is a summary from the 3GPP RAN and RAN WG Chairmen on how 5G NR corrections are being handled in 3GPP.

After completion of every release of the 3GPP specifications there is an ongoing process to fix “bugs” in the standards. The process uses Change Requests (CRs) submitted by member companies to the RAN working group meetings. CRs are discussed, often modified to address feedback from other companies, and then agreed or rejected. Four times a year the agreed CRs are approved by the TSG RAN plenary meetings and then included in the next version of the specifications.

3GPP Summit at CEATEC JAPAN 2018

November 1, 2018

By Masa Sumita, Director of Standardization, The Telecommunication Technology Committee (TTC)

3GPP and its Japanese Organizational Partners: The Telecommunication Technology Committee (TTC) and Association of Radio Industries and Businesses (ARIB) have hosted a “3GPP Summit” Conference Session at CEATEC JAPAN 2018, one of Japan’s largest ICT Conference and Exhibitions (, on 17th October, 2018 in Makuhari area, Chiba-Pref., Japan.

This event was co-located with the “5G International Workshop” hosted by Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) and 5G Mobile Communications Promotion Forum (5GMF), in the same room that afternoon. 

The “3GPP Summit” featured all three Technical Specification Group (TSG) Chairman (CT, RAN, SA) alongside their Japanese Vice Chairman, all joined by the Chairman of the 3GPP Security group (SA3) and the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) – a Partner in 3GPP – who were also presenting. The 3GPP technical leadership event attracted an audience of around 700 people, which was in excess of the full seating capacity of the largest conference room in the Makuhari Messe expo center ( – So it was standing room only!

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