It’s been a long time coming, but there’s finally a finished 5G standard. Earlier this week, the 3GPP – the international group that governs cellular standards – officially signed off on the standalone 5G New Radio (NR) spec. It’s another major step toward next-generation cellular networks finally becoming a reality.
Now, if you’ve been paying attention to the cellular industry, this may sound familiar and for good reason: the 3GPP also announced a finished 5G standard in December 2017. The difference is that the December specification was for the non-standalone version of 5G NR, which would still be built on top of existing legacy LTE networks. The agreed-upon specification from this week is the standalone version of 5G, which allows for new deployments of 5G in places that didn’t necessarily have that existing infrastructure.