The 5G Standard

In his recent article for the 3GPP Highlights Newsletter (Issue 4), Georg Mayer, TSG SA Chair, said: “Looking at the recently approved Release 18 Study and Work Items, many have support from stakeholders from very different industries. This shows that most of the technologies that 3GPP develops today are not created as functional ‘silos’, which could only be used by specialized industries, but rather enable services for multiple purposes.” Addressing the need for a coordinated approach in 3GPP. He said "The limited time available within a release forces companies to look for common ground, in order to achieve their most important goals” Georg Mayer observed that in Release 18, this is leading to “more and more improvements to generic enablers such as Network Slicing, Edge Computing or Proximity Services, all essential for services of a very diverse nature.”

Radio projects planning

The TSG RAN Chair, Wanshi Chen, recently gave his RAN Rel-18 Project Update. In it, he identified the importance of Release 18, marking the start of 5G-Advanced. The RAN discussion on potential RAN Rel-18 projects has been carefully planned, starting from the first RAN Rel-18 workshop in June 2021.

In RAN#94-e, after multiple rounds of email discussion and conference calls, Working Group RAN1/2/3-led Rel-18 package was approved (as detailed in RP-213469). In the same package, there was also one RAN4-led Rel-18 WI and the corresponding RAN4 impact analysis for the approved RAN1/2/3-led Rel-18 items. The high-level overview of the corresponding TU budget was endorsed in RP-213697. All the corresponding SIDs/WIDs were also approved in RAN#94-e.

The primary focus in RAN#95-e for RAN Rel-18 were RAN4-led projects. Based on the fruitful email discussion in February 2022 focusing on potential RAN4-led R18 projects, RAN#95-e approved RAN4-led Rel-18 package in in a very smooth manner. The corresponding TU budget was endorsed in RP-220980 and later consolidated in RP-221019. All the corresponding RAN4-led Rel-18 SIDs/WIDs were approved in RAN#95-e as well. 

Consequently, combining RAN#94-e and RAN#95-e, the package approval process for RAN Rel-18 is now completed.

TSG Rel-18 timeline & content

  • Stage 2 functional freeze: March 2023
  • Stage 3 freeze: December 2023
  • Rel-18 content largely decided at the December 2021 TSGs (#94-e):

The Rel-18 Work Plan

As new studies and the detailed specification work begins, the Work Plan will be the place to monitor the growth of Release 18. Every Plenary set of meetings sees a major update to the 3GPP Work Plan.

The latest Work Plan is always available for download at 

Some Background on Release 18

  • 3GPP news article: Advanced plans for 5G (July 6, 2021)
  • News story 'Evolution towards 5G-Advanced' - Link to webinar presentation by Wanshi Chen, TSG RAN Chair.
  • TR21.918 the "Release description; Release 18", will be approved and published at the end of the Release. Prior to that, draft versions will be available. 

About the ‘5G Advanced’ logo

We now have an official 5G-Advanced logo, for use on 3GPP Reports and Specifications, from Release-18 onwards.

The decision to adopt the new marker was taken at the 3GPP Project Coordination Group (PCG#46-e Meeting) in April 2021. The PCG has considered and approved the use of distinct 3GPP markers since the completion of early LTE work in 2008, to help distinguish new release capabilities and the services that they bring.

Whether ‘LTE’ or ‘5G’, these markers have allowed the broader industry to achieve some clarity in their conversations about which 3GPP system they are referring to in a variety of conversations with partners and customers, as well as within the 3GPP community.

Guidelines for the use of the 5G-Advanced logo are found