The ITU has thus far been mum on a standards document for 5G, but that doesn't mean the race to the next generation of networks has stalled as evidenced in a recent 4G Americas summary of 5G initiatives underway around the world.
That said, Chris Pearson, president of 4G Americas, said the report was aimed at understanding who is doing what around 5G.
"We really wanted to see what practical needs there are for the Americas region to ensure that their vision is also heard loud and clear in the development of a 5G standard," Pearson said.
The report renders a picture of a global wireless industry that is moving quickly to evolve the networks, and Pearson cautions that the United States needs to do more to stay at the forefront of innovation.
"In the U.S. in particular, We need to immediately look to significantly increase our investment in 5G," Pearson said. "If you look at the scale and scope of the 5G initiatives around the world, they have a lot of depth and breadth to them, and yet in the Americas region we have a fair number of small initiatives, but overall there just needs to be a greater technological and financial commitment to more research," Pearson said.
4G Americas currently counts 308 LTE networks deployed in 108 countries, and the group expects there to be 350 by the end of the year. That said, there's still improvements that can be made to those networks on their way to the next generation of technology.
"There's a huge runway left in LTE-Advanced, in fact if you look at LTE-Advanced there's 13 commercial network in 11 countries, and we expect by the end of the year there will be 40 to 50 LTE-Advanced commercial networks," Pearson said, noting that most estimates put 5G deployments happening after the year 2020.
"We plan to have an active role in our vision for 5G in the Americas," Pearson said, speaking broadly about just what exactly 4G Americas will be looking for in a news standard. "We'll be examining what the use cases for the evolution of the technology to 5G? What are the requirements to provide for applications and services that would go with those use cases? And then what are the considerations for 5G from a technology enablement of 5G?"
This is a discussion that Pearson plans on taking to CTIA's Super Mobility Week in Las Vegas this September. 4G Americas will be part of CTIA's MobileTalks, hosting a variety of panel discussion on LTE-Advanced and beyond from 11:30 to 1:15 pm on Wednesday, September 10. Pearson will also be delivering a keynote at 4G World and Tower and Small Cell Summit Program, which are co-located with CTIA at the Sands Convention Center.
A full copy of 4G America's "Summary of 5G Initiatives" can be found here.