A shift of the Rel-16 timeline was approved at TSG#87 plenary e-meetings:
Rel-16 Stage 3 freeze now June 2020 (shifted by 3 months)
Rel-16 ASN.1 and OpenAPI specification freeze will also be complete in June 2020 (stays as planned)
Early Release 16 Status
Release 16 is a major release for the project, not least because it brings our IMT-2020 submission - for an initial full 3GPP 5G system - to its completion (see details below).
In addition to that formal process, work has progressed on around 25 Release 16 studies, on a variety of topics: Multimedia Priority Service, Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) application layer services, 5G satellite access, Local Area Network support in 5G, wireless and wireline convergence for 5G, terminal positioning and location, communications in vertical domains and network automation and novel radio techniques. Further items being studied include security, codecs and streaming services, Local Area Network interworking, network slicing and the IoT.
Technical Reports (the result of the study phase) have also been developed on broadening the applicability of 3GPP technology to non-terrestrial radio access (initially satellites, but airborne base stations are also to be considered) and to maritime aspects (intra-ship, ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship). Work also progresses on new PMR functionality for LTE, enhancing the railway-oriented services originally developed using GSM radio technology that is now nearing end of life.
As part of Release 16, MC services are extended to address a wider business sector than the initial rather narrow public security and civil defence services for which they had originally been developed. If the same or similar standards can be used for commercial applications (from taxi dispatching to railway traffic management, and other vertical sector scenarios currently being investigated), this would bring enhanced reliability to those MC services through wider deployment, and reduced deployment costs due to economies of scale – to the benefit of all users.
RAN efforts couldn't avoid a short delay in the Rel-16 schedule:
IMT-2020 - Final submission
Step 1: From Sep 2017 to Dec 2017, discussions in RAN ITU-R Ad-Hoc
- Calibration for self evaluation
- Prepare and finalize initial description template information that is to be submitted to ITU-R WP 5D#29.
- Performance evaluation against eMBB, mMTC and URLLC requirements and test environments for NR and LTE features.
- Update description template and prepare compliance template according to self evaluation results.
- Provide description template, compliance template, and self evaluation results based on Rel-15 in Sep 2018.
- Performance evaluation update by taking into account Rel-16 updates in addition to Rel-15
- Update description template and compliance template to take into account Rel-16 updates in addition to Rel-15
- Provide description template, compliance template, and self evaluation results based on Rel-15 and Rel-16 in June 2019.
Some Background on Release 16
- A view from the engine room, a video interview with Lionel Morand (TSG CT Chair) covering the major role that Release 16 plays in delivering the full set of features for the 5G system.(July, 2020)
- RAN Rel-16 progress and Rel-17 potential work areas (July 18, 2019)
- Early progress on Rel-16 bands for 5G (April 2, 2019)
- "Working towards full 5G in Rel-16"...See a webinar presentation (July 3, 2018)
- Preparing the ground for IMT-2020
- SA1 completes its study into 5G requirements
- Service requirements for the 5G system (TS22.261)
- Release 16 Description - TR21.916 (now available):