@BigDataExpo Authors: Pat Romanski, Carmen Gonzalez, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Cloud Best Practices Network

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Clear Road Forward for 3GPP Mobile Broadband Technologies

4G Americas Publishes a Detailed Report on the Developments in 3GPP Release 11 and 12 Standards

BELLEVUE, WA -- (Marketwired) -- 02/12/14 -- 4G Americas, a wireless industry trade association representing 3GPP mobile broadband technologies, today published a detailed report on the 3GPP standards in Release 11 and the work nearing completion in Release 12. The white paper, titled, 4G Mobile Broadband Evolution: 3GPP Release 11 & Release 12 and Beyond, provides an in-depth look into 3GPP technology standards, including HSPA+, LTE-Advanced and Machine Type Communications (MTC).

"Innovations in 3GPP network architecture have been carefully planned to maximize capacity, efficiency and the user experience at the dawn of the age of the Internet of Things," commented Vicki Livingston, Head of Communications for 4G Americas and co-leader of the 4G Americas working group that produced the white paper. "The global success of HSPA+ mobile broadband and the current explosion of LTE connections can be attributed to the future planning in 3GPP standards work that has set forth the clear roadmap to LTE-Advanced and beyond."

LTE-Advanced, based on 3GPP Release 10, has been commercially deployed by five mobile network operators worldwide: SK Telecom, LG U+ and KT Telecom in South Korea, EE in the U.K. and Saudi Telecom Company in Saudi Arabia. It is expected that the four national service providers in the U.S. -- AT&T, T-Mobile USA, Sprint and Verizon -- will all deploy LTE-Advanced in 2014. The standards work developed at 3GPP is evolving today's mobile broadband technologies by aiming to address the immense challenge facing mobile network operators in the coming years as the 1000x mobile data challenge draws near.

3GPP Rel-11 standards for HSPA+ and LTE-Advanced were frozen in December 2012 with the core network protocols stable in December 2012 and Radio Access Network (RAN) protocols stable in March 2013. Key features detailed in the paper for Rel-11 include:


  • 8-carrier downlink operation (HSDPA)
  • Downlink (DL) 4-branch Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) antennas
  • DL Multi-Flow Transmission
  • Uplink (UL) dual antenna beamforming (both closed and open loop transmit diversity)
  • UL MIMO with 64 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (64-QAM)
  • Several CELL_FACH (Forward Access Channel) state enhancements (for smartphone type traffic) and non-contiguous HSDPA Carrier Aggregation (CA)


  • Carrier Aggregation (CA)
  • Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services (MBMS) and Self Organizing Networks (SON)
  • Introduction to the Coordinated Multi-Point (CoMP) feature for enabling coordinated scheduling and/or beamforming
  • Enhanced Physical Control Channel (EPDCCH)
  • Further enhanced Inter-Cell Interference Coordination (FeICIC) for devices with interference cancellation

Finally, Rel-11 introduces several network and service related enhancements (most of which apply to both HSPA and LTE):

  • Machine Type Communications (MTC)
  • IP Multimedia Systems (IMS)
  • Wi-Fi integration
  • Home NodeB (HNB) and Home e-NodeB (HeNB)

3GPP started work on Rel-12 in December 2012 and an 18-month timeframe for completion was planned. The work continues into 2014 and areas that are still incomplete are carefully noted in the report. Work will be ratified by June 2014 with the exception of RAN protocols which will be finalized by September 2014. Key features detailed in the paper for Rel-12 include:


  • Universal Mobile Telecommunication System (UMTS) Heterogeneous Networks (HetNet)
  • Scalable UMTS Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) bandwidth
  • Enhanced Uplink (EUL) enhancements
  • Emergency warning for Universal Terrestrial Radio Access Network (UTRAN)
  • HNB mobility
  • HNB positioning for Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (UTRA)
  • Machine Type Communications (MTC)
  • Dedicated Channel (DCH) enhancements


  • Active Antenna Systems (AAS)
  • Downlink enhancements for MIMO antenna systems
  • Small cell and femtocell enhancements
  • Machine Type Communication (MTC)
  • Proximity Service (ProSe)
  • User Equipment (UE)
  • Self-Optimizing Networks (SON)
  • Heterogeneous Network (HetNet) mobility
  • Multimedia Broadcast/Multicast Services (MBMS)
  • Local Internet Protocol Access/Selected Internet Protocol Traffic Offload (LIPA/SIPTO)
  • Enhanced International Mobile Telecommunications Advanced (eIMTA) and Frequency Division Duplex-Time Division Duplex Carrier Aggregation (FDD-TDD CA)

Work in Rel-12 also included features for network and services enhancements for MTC, public safety and Wi-Fi integration, system capacity and stability, Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC), further network energy savings, multimedia and Policy and Charging Control (PCC) framework.

All the mentioned enhancements in the standards work are carefully explained in the white paper, outlining the clear road forward in the development of 3GPP mobile broadband standards. The importance of this planning cannot be minimalized in the face of a global interconnection of billions of things today, and an increasing number of devices in the future of the Internet of Things.

"Mobile communications have become such an essential part of our lives that we sometimes take its presence for granted, like air or sunshine," stated Michael Peeters, CTO, Wireless Business Line at Alcatel-Lucent and leader of the 4G Americas working group. "We see it as a key driver to continued human and economic development; with it, access to everything from health information and banking to news and social media stimulates job creation and citizen participation."

4G Mobile Broadband Evolution: 3GPP Release 11 & Release 12 and Beyond, was written collaboratively by members of 4G Americas and is available for free download at: www.4gamericas.org.

About 4G Americas: Unifying the Americas through Mobile Broadband Technology
4G Americas is an industry trade organization composed of leading telecommunications service providers and manufacturers. The organization's mission is to advocate for and foster the advancement and full capabilities of the 3GPP family of mobile broadband technologies, including LTE-Advanced, throughout the ecosystem's networks, services, applications and wirelessly connected devices in the Americas. 4G Americas contributes to the success of 3GPP technologies and their No. 1 place in the region. 4G Americas is headquartered in Bellevue, Wash. More information is available at www.4gamericas.org.

4G Americas' Board of Governors members include: Alcatel-Lucent, América Móvil, AT&T, Cable & Wireless, Cisco, CommScope, Entel, Ericsson, HP, Mavenir, Nokia Solutions and Networks, Openwave Mobility, Qualcomm, Rogers, T-Mobile USA and Telefónica.

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