3G Americas publishes status report on 3GPP specification development: HSPA+, LTE/SAE, and LTE-Advanced

3G Americas, a group promoting the deployment of the GSM family of technologies, yesterday released its annual report on 3GPP specifications and the 3G/4G wireless market. The report reviews the history of 3GPP specification development since 1995, and places current work in context.

The 240-page report focuses mostly on the latest 3GPP specification releases:

  • Release 8 includes enhancements to High Speed Packet Access Plus (HSPA+) as well as the new Long Term Evolution (LTE) air interface and Evolved Packet Core (EPC) system architecture. (EPC is sometimes used interchangeably with System Architecture Evolution (SAE), to refer to the evolved flatter-IP core network.) The specifications for Release 8 are basically stable.
  • Release 9 is nearing completion and will add features and improved performance for HSPA+ and LTE. It includes enhancements for MIMO, downlink beamforming, emergency services, location services, and more.
  • Release 10 work is underway. It covers LTE-Advanced in support of ITU-R’s IMT-Advanced requirements. The IMT-Advanced process, as it relates to 3GPP, is described. The report looks at technologies for Release 10 and beyond, including enhanced uplink and downlink transmission schemes, spectrum aggregation in support of wider bandwidths, machine-to-machine communications, and enhancements to aid fixed-mobile convergence.

The report also looks at how growth in wireless data applications is driving the development of new networks.

This is helpful information for those wanting to know the state of HSPA+ and LTE today, along with associated core-network issues. Those involved more in other wireless systems might still benefit from the discussions of wireless market trends and emerging radio technologies.