What’s in 3GPP Release 15: First 5G Standard and Improvements to LTE

February 13, 2020

3GPP Release 15 Mission Critical (MC) Features to Connect, Protect and Boost as 5G Starts

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is an industry-wide partnership between seven major telecommunications organizations (ARIB, ATIS, CCSA, ETSI, TSDSI, TTA and TTC) that governs and provides oversight for new wireless network technologies and protocols. 

Cloud showing by-direction data flow with a mobile device.

3GPP protocols ensure cellular evolution calibrates to deployed standards to connect more devices safely across all 3G mobile networks. The latest “frozen” set of 3GPP protocols, Release 15, will directly affect the way users interact with the growing number of connected devices, which, according to Gartner, is expected to reach 20.4 billion by 2020

What is 3GPP Release 15? 

The 3GPP global initiative ensures that emerging technologies are compatible with usable radio access networks, service and systems aspects, and core networks and terminals. 3GPP’s series of Releases outlines milestones, with the latest batch known as Rel. 13 (2016), Rel. 14 (2017) and Rel. 15 (2019). Designed to be the release with the first set of 5G standards, Rel. 15 also updates mission-critical (MC) communications and MC services functionalities. These functions have existed and continue to evolve, as its provisions directly affect everything from private communications across broadband to emergency alerts and file distribution for government facilities. Rel. 15 allows industries that rely on large-scale MC communications to improve response times, gain better control over device and network software updates and revision management, and assemble teams of responders more quickly and efficiently.  

3GPP Rel. 15 and Industry Improvements 

With 3GPP, significant technology improvements, including an entirely new air interface — 5G New Radio (NR) — will follow advances in LTE, LTE-Advanced and LTE-A Pro. Technology will need to adapt to improvements in speed. Worldwide, mobile carriers are working hard to optimize their network for 5G support utilizing their existing framework. Users can expect better connections, better protections and boosted application potential. 

What MC Services can we expect with 3GPP Rel. 15?

3GPP Rel. 15 provisions will improve the interconnection between 3GPP-defined MC systems. This release will also advance the interworking between the 3GPP-established MC system and legacy systems, such as TETRA or P25 (for voice and short data service), and improve streaming functionalities of Evolved Media Broadcast Multicast Services (eMBMS) Application Programming Interfaces for MC services. Consider these the “backward compatibility” boosts for existing MC systems.  Rel. 16, due to be “frozen” in June 2020, will further enhance MC services and capabilities, which will reap benefits from the ultra-reliable, low-latency communication (URLLC) framework that it introduces. 

The new provisions boost seamless video and data transmission, enabling multiple users to connect for group calls and more substantial bundle data sharing. This transmission will bolster industries reliant on high-speeds and low latency that need to monitor and track their assets, goods and services. Cost-effective modular chips and sensors are being deployed across large scale operations to enable everything from remote temperature monitoring to smart cities and asset tracking with smart transportation.  

Rel. 15 will improve the quality of service and allow new use cases across multiple industries. Some industries that will feel the positive impacts of 3GPP’s Rel. 15 MC include: 

Smart Transportation 

The transportation industry will experience a swifter, more organized medical telepresence, more able to deliver life-saving goods, transport patients efficiently and navigate traffic to and from hospitals. 3GPP Rel. 15 will update the MC service requirements of the railway and maritime industries. Low-power machine connectivity across trains, ships, and other automobiles will improve, leaving less room for error in critical transmissions and navigation pathway sharing.  

Smart Cities

A smart IoT-driven city framework can help clear traffic and parking congestion, reduce the cost of lighting for streetlights, save time and money through efficient waste and water management, and prevent the loss of critical assets.  

Smart Surveillance

Critical smart security and surveillance measures will also connect users to home security features and facility monitoring. Expect faster connections and improvements in safety and security measures: 

  • Video surveillance (enhanced mobile broadband)  
  • Advanced security, alarms and protection (smart home security)  
  • Fire and carbon monoxide monitoring  
  • Flood protection
  • Emergency alerts 

Also expect plenty of enhancements for mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT) communications including:  

  • Remote MCPTT calling 
  • Enhanced emergency alert response time and disbursement handling 
  • Enhanced broadcast group call and simultaneous streaming 
  • Updating preselected MC service user profile 
  • Temporary group call  
  • Functional alias identity for user and equipment
  • MC service requirements from maritime industries low-power machine-type communications (MTC)

Leading the Future with 3GPP-Compliant Modules 

Connecting the world from the inside out, Telit has been a global leader in IoT and broadband enablement solutions. Get to know our first responder module portfolio and our Rel. 15 5G data cards.