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5G-Advanced shifts to the next gear with Release 19

5G-Advanced shifts to the next gear with Release 19

This week, we received our first look at what the next Release of 5G-Advanced will look like. 3GPP’s RAN Release 19 workshop concluded today, while earlier this week the Technical Specification Group Service and System Aspects (TSG SA) workshop also wrapped up, providing us with a clear view of the future evolution of 5G radio and network architectures.

These two Release 19 workshops, held in Taipei, attracted 700 registered delegates representing close to 200 different stakeholders in the wireless industry. Large number of the participants also attended in person, a big change from the Release 18 workshop which was fully virtual due to Covid. Together they submitted over 550 proposals for 5G-Advanced RAN and SA features. What emerged were a set of features that build on the foundations being defined in Release 18. These features will offer refinements for services such as extended reality, while at the same time improving on the radio and system performance. The important themes from Release 18 -- such as improved energy efficiency, better coverage and improved mobility performance – will be carried over into the Release 19 specs, but some new themes emerged like 5G femto BTS or joint communication and sensing. The workshops also started to take preparatory steps towards 6G.

We still need to wait until 2025 before the Release 19 specifications are finalized but based on this early workshop discussions, we have a good idea of what the future holds. Let’s have a look at some of the most promising items from the workshops.

Extended Reality

The work for improvements of XR is on-going in Release 18, but in Release 19, we are seeking to improve the mobile XR experience. With expectations of a big increase in the traffic related to XR services, XR capacity improvements are needed to ensure the network can cope with the predicted traffic. Further enhancements for the 5G System will improve UE power saving, optimize handling of high UE data rates and support localized mobile metaverse services.

Energy efficiency

While there are several energy efficiency improvements coming in Release 18, more can be done to further reduce the carbon footprint of mobile communications as traffic volumes mounts and the number of cell sites grows. Further 5G-Advanced system enhancements will focus on energy savings and a more efficient energy usage. By adding energy control capabilities to 5G-Advanced we can offer energy efficiency as a service to applications, subscribers and verticals. In addition to the network, 3GPP is also looking at ways to extend device battery life. This continues to be a key goal in Nokia’s sustainability mission.


3GPP studied AI/ML air interface in Release 18, and while there is still lot of work to be done to get the basic principles in place, we want to provide actual AI/ML specifications in Release 19 to support specific 5G-Advanced use cases. The first phase of AI/ML in the air interface for Release 19 has several aspects that reflect study outcomes from Release 18. These include beam forming, reducing channel feedback overhead and improving positioning operations. Release 19 will explore new areas in the AI/ML air interface like mobility improvement, and it will study AI/ML-related model training, model management and data collection globally for the 5G System. On the network side we are looking to use AI/ML to improve energy efficiency. 

Non-Terrestrial Networks

One of the vertical industries strongly represented in the workshops was the satellite industry. There is value in having global standards for satellite communications, and 3GPP is looking into regenerative architectures that place more functionality in the satellite compared to current architectures that rely on base station processing on the ground. 3GPP will also look into providing store and forward satellite operations for delay tolerant IoT NTN applications, which can be offered for satellites in areas where there is no NTN Gateway available on the ground.

Looking toward 6G

5G-Advanced will be also an important step towards 6G in different technical areas, including channel modeling, duplex evolution and an AI/ML framework. Release 19 will look at ways of channel modeling for new 6G bands in the 7 to 24 GHz range, as the current channel models don’t take into account the different properties of objects in terms of how signals would be reflected back. Another technical study that we will start, is on the duplex evolution for avoiding performance degradation from new interference scenarios. Developing a framework for the use of AI/ML in 5G-Advanced will furthermore pave the way for future 6G studies.

5G Advanced

There were many other proposals submitted to the Release 19 workshops. They include sidelink communications, which continues to be of interest for different vertical use cases from public safety to automotive as well as in UE collaboration. Also under consideration is the simultaneous registration to 5G Core via multiple New Radio (NR) accesses, which would allow UEs to use different services offered by Public Land Mobile Networks (PLMN) and Standalone Non-Public Networks (SNPN) as well as improve capacity, coverage and reliability for UEs using services in two networks at the same time via appropriate steering, splitting, switching and duplication of traffic over two 3GPP accesses. Improving uplink coverage of the networks also continues to be of interest for the network operators. These and many more features continue to elevate 5G-Advanced to new levels of system performance and capability, supporting new services that today can only be supported over fixed connections.

At Nokia, we are looking forward to see the first 5G-Advanced release, Release 18, specification completed by Q1 2024 with standardization of Release 19 being planned to be completed by end of 2025.

For more details on Nokia standardization leadership, check out our Standardization page.

Antti Toskala

About Antti Toskala

Antti Toskala is a Bell Labs Fellow who has worked with 3GPP for more than 20 years. Currently his work is focused on 5G evolution.

Yannick Lair

About Yannick Lair

Yannick has been active for the last 15 years in 3GPP standardization in the areas of UE-core network protocols, mission-critical applications and overall 3GPP system architecture. His current focus is on services and system evolution for 5G.

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