Friday, 20 February 2015 00:21

5G World Alliance will be launched at MWC in March with 0.5G logo Featured


Yet another comms organisation has been set up, this one to promote 5G development across all technologies, dubbed the 5GWA.

Complete with the world’s dodgiest looking logo (can’t these highly paid telecoms people afford decent graphic designers?!), the 5G World Alliance is dedicating itself ‘to the development and delivery of the Next Generation Worldwide Wireless Internet’.

Set to launch during the March 2015 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the 5GWA will ‘take a holistic, integrated approach across all technologies in order to gain support for seamless worldwide networking interoperability – empowering the end user through a truly end-to-end experience.’

You do have to wonder why whatever the existing 4G or 3G alliances are can’t just add 5G to their remits, but hey, if a bunch of companies want to fund a new alliance, all power to them.

Perhaps we should band together and jump the gun to get in to the 6G World Alliance right now, although with 7 and 8 being lucky numbers in the West and East respectively, a 7G and 8G World Alliance could prove more fortunate.

That said, I’m not paid to be a telecomedian, so let’s see what Latif Ladid, the founding chair of the 5G World Alliance, President of the IPv6 Forum and a 3GPP PCG (Board) member since 1999 had to say.

Ladid said: “5G is so much more than the next generation of mobile technology; it is the next generation of how the world – and everyone and everything in it – communicates from around 2020.

“The 5G World Alliance will be a focal point for organisations with the expertise and the desire to transform a world already hungry for the latest solutions and applications,” he said.

“We are talking here about a 5G World where technologies such as an all-IPv6-based M2M, the mobile IoT, mobile Cloud Computing, SDN, NFV, Fringe and Tactile Internet will converge over fixed and mobile networks to change lives and businesses everywhere”.

For those wondering about the technical aspects, 5GWA says it will ‘work closely with the ETSI IPv6 ISG and is looking to get the Telecom and Internet worlds to integrate and share best practices with principal SDOs such as 3GPP, ETSI, IETF and the ITU. It will also develop across other industry sectors, who can gain massively from the 5G future.’

Ladid added: “It’s very important that such a converged world from 2020 onwards embraces critical infrastructures such as health, transportation, agriculture and many more, and so, from the outset, we will be looking to involve these industries so that their developing needs can be built into the 5G framework from the outset.”

5GWA says it is ‘currently establishing its Founding members – who will be Board members and help shape the working groups and tasks as 5G moves forward. There is expected to be several levels of membership to allow small, creative, companies and organisations to take part. Companies and other organisations are invited to contact Mr Ladid for more details.’

The 5GWA not only shared the objectives it intends to achieve, but also helpfully posted a Q&A offering more information on exactly why the world needs a 5GWA and ‘why it’s such a significant step forward’.

Those objectives include:

  • Global harmonisation and synergies of Telecom and Internet worlds
  • The creation of large-scale worldwide interoperable test beds
  • Promotion of end-user empowering applications and global solutions
  • Promotion of interoperable implementation of converging and integrated standards
  • Developing Educational and “5G Ready” programmes
  • Resolving issues that could create barriers to 5G deployment
  • Further announcements will be made after Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (2-5 March 2015)

The 5GWA doesn’t appear to have a website as yet, or I’d give you a link, but the 5GWA says its mission, over two paragraphs, is:

“Promote 5G as the Neutral Next Generation World Wide Wireless Internet by integrating new technologies with a holistic integrated approach combining IPv6-based Machine-to-Machine, Mobile Internet of Things, Mobile Cloud Computing, Software Defined Networks (SDN), Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV), Fringe Internet, Tactile Internet, focusing on commonly agreed requirements to garner support for seamless worldwide networking interoperability and spectrum harmonisation and foster coalition efforts to converge and focus the work for greater impact and exploitations for the common good.

"The expected global impact is to enrich the 5G market potential and dramatically empower the end-user with end-to-end experience, allowing world-wide equitable access to knowledge and technology, embracing a moral responsibility to the world.”

We could perhaps shorten this very long mission statement to something more familiar sounding.

Here’s my attempt:

Wireless Bandwidth: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the enterprising 5GWA. Its 5GWA mission: to explore faster new speeds, to seek out spectrum and new software defined networks, to boldly go where no next-gen world alliance has gone before.

All jokes aside, the 5GWA does sound like a worthy organisation, and if it can help bring on next-gen 5G speeds ever faster, that's no bad thing.

It does make me wonder where Steve Perlman's Artemis Networks and his pCells fit into all of this, if they do at all - hopefully we'll all find out plenty more at MWC 2015, and indeed from Steve Perlman himself when he hopefully says more sometime soon about his own technologies, as we haven't heard from Steve in a while (and he, as far as we are aware, has nothing to do with this announcement).   

In its ‘notes to editors’, the 5G World Alliance poses six questions and delivers six answers. Five of each would have been more poetic, but let us not quibble over Q&A tribbles.

1. Why have you formed this Alliance – don’t we have enough people looking at 5G already?

The 5G World Alliance (5GWA) has a considerable ambition in genuinely addressing the current rather “siloed” approach and worldwide technology fragmentation that exists. The 5GWA mission is to get Telecom, Internet and Content to sit together and design 5G to integrate all layers in the OSI model. 5G is not only about spectrum and access networks. There is a clear opportunity to integrate the fixed and wireless networks and build in new technologies such as IoT, Cloud Computing and SDN-NFV, all based on IPv6, while the current definition is still based on current IP networking using NAT, with CGN or not even taken into account.

2. What are you hoping to achieve?

The 5GWA will define the technology roadmap to get the standardisation bodies (SDOs) IETF, ETSI, 3GPP, ITU and W3C to work on integrated standards for not only the Telecom and Internet world, but to all sectors that have not yet integrated wireless Internet solutions into their processes and applications such as eHealth, Transportation, agriculture, smart cities, etc.

Some essential enablers are Interop and 5G readiness programs to get industry to co-operate and harmonise their communication solutions and standards adoption.

3. Have you got the support of the industry to create this new organisation?

The 5GWA will strive to garner support and win key players and early adopters to actively pioneer the definition of the 5G requirements and foster work in the technology, standards and business committees. Very encouraging feedback has already been received from the experts in this new emerging technology in the founding members of the ETSI Industry Specification Group for IPv6 based 5G.

4. Why should companies join the 5G World Alliance?

This is a unique opportunity to shape the way the world communicates from 2020 onwards and founding members will take leadership in defining the roadmap of the alliance in a neutral and harmonising way. They will gain early knowledge without spending high dollars in technology research and market research to get a head start in piloting their solutions and becoming the pioneers in their market winning branding and market position in the exciting future that lies ahead.

5. What is the kind of work you are going to be doing when the Alliance gets started?

The steering committee will define the pieces of the roadmap with an integrated approach in defining the user requirements for real use cases such as eHealth, e-Transport, e-agriculture and invite the best experts from the members working in the IETF, ETSI, 3GPP, ITU to work together for the first time. The ETSI ISG will support the standardisation for the 5GWA.

6. Why is 5G such a significant step forward?

5G is not just 4G+. It’s an opportunity to have the user at centre-stage and make all technologies work for him instead of the other way around. The vision is to have technology become transparent to the users and become an invisible critical infrastructure; lifting society to the next level to be served by technology. This will enable deployment of new critical mobile apps and critical mobile services way beyond the current web surfing and social apps.


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.



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