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Keywords & Acronyms

We have written articles to explain some 3GPP related keywords and acronyms, to give some background material on the topic.

Terms include:  

3GPP Series & technologies

The first two digits of a 3GPP TS or TR number define the spec series; for example LTE radio (E-UTRAN) is defined in the 36 Series.

On this page you can find which technology is [at least partially] aligned with which 3GPP series.

A-Z list of technical terms

The 3GPP Report ‘Vocabulary for 3GPP Specifications’ identifies specialist technical terms used;

  • To ensure that editors use terminology that is consistent across specifications.
  • To provide a reader with convenient reference for technical terms that are used across multiple documents.

Furthermore, you can check which Spec(s) a term or abbreviation is defined in using ETSI’s TEDDI application. Note that this only shows terms defined in 3GPP TSs and TRs which have already been transposed as ETSI publications.


Network Functions Virtualisation

3GPP looks to close cooperation with ISG NFV

At the recent SA Plenary (SA#63, Fukuoka, March 2014), a liaison statement was issued, towards the ETSI Industry Specification Group on Network Functions Virtualisation (ISG NFG). This formal communication is the 3GPP mechanism for informing them that the 3GPP Telecom Management working group (SA5) will produce a Study Item on the management of virtualised 3GPP network functions.

SA5 will start work in their next meeting in March 2014. If the study is agreed there, it will be presented for approval at 3GPP TSG-SA#64 in June 2014 and the work (on agreed features) would proceed  following that meeting.

3GPP is also considering how the work in ISG NFV might impact 3GPP at the architecture and system level. The SA#64 meeting concluded that a separate 3GPP study item could be considered to address this, referencing those use cases in ETSI ISG NFV that include 3GPP network entities. The liaison statement to ISG NFV commented that potential work on 3GPP functional elements resulting from this study would be addressed from June 2014 onwards.

Heterogeneous Networks in LTE

by Jeanette Wannstrom, masterltefaster.com and Keith Mallinson, WiseHarbor

Effective network planning is essential to cope with the increasing number of mobile broadband data subscribers and bandwidth-intensive services competing for limited radio resources. Operators have met this challenge by increasing capacity with new radio spectrum, adding multi-antenna techniques and implementing more efficient modulation and coding schemes.

However, these measures alone are insufficient in the most crowded environments and at cell edges where performance can significantly degrade. Operators are also adding small cells and tightly-integrating these with their macro networks to spread traffic loads, widely maintain performance and service quality while reusing spectrum most efficiently.


Author: Frédéric Firmin, 3GPP MCC

This article gives an overview of the Non-Access Stratum (NAS) and its protocols EMM and ESM.

The Non-Access Stratum is a set of protocols in the Evolved Packet System. The NAS is used to convey non-radio signalling between the User Equipment (UE) and the Mobility Management Entity (MME) for an LTE/E-UTRAN access.


Author: Jeanette Wannstrom, for 3GPP,

(Submission, June 2013)

In LTE-Advanced focus is on higher capacity:The driving force to further develop LTE towards LTE–Advanced - LTE Release10 was to provide higher bitrates in a cost efficient way and, at the same time, completely fulfil the requirements set by ITU for IMT Advanced, also referred to as 4G.

  • Increased peak data rate, DL 3 Gbps, UL 1.5 Gbps
  • Higher spectral efficiency, from a maximum of 16bps/Hz in R8 to 30 bps/Hz in R10
  • Increased number of simultaneously active subscribers
  • Improved performance at cell edges, e.g. for DL 2x2 MIMO at least 2.40 bps/Hz/cell.



LTE (both radio and core network evolution) is now on the market. Release 8 was frozen in December 2008 and this has been the basis for the first wave of LTE equipment. LTE specifications are very stable, with the added benefit of enhancements having been introduced in all subsequent 3GPP Releases.

The motivation for LTE

  • Need to ensure the continuity of competitiveness of the 3G system for the future
  • User demand for higher data rates and quality of service
  • Packet Switch optimised system
  • Continued demand for cost reduction (CAPEX and OPEX)
  • Low complexity
  • Avoid unnecessary fragmentation of technologies for paired and unpaired band operation

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