5G-Advanced, 3GPP standardization phases and naming
With the recent update from 3GPP  the new brand name and the logo have been introduced for the Release-18 (Rel-18) of mobile communications standards, namely 5G-Advanced. The work package for this standard release is still to be approved (the prioritization process on Rel-18 features should be completed by the end of 2021 ), but this update shall reflect a significant feature update versus 5G. The preliminary proposals for Rel-18 are split into the three groups as follows: eMBB-driven Functional Evolution, Non-eMBB-driven Functional Evolution, Cross-Functionalities for both eMBB and Non-eMBB Evolution.
Looking backwards, we’ve been to similar transitions within the LTE era, where the first version of the system back in Rel-8 was named LTE, and the updated version with extended set of features to fulfill the ITU requirements for a 4G system was called LTE-Advanced within Rel-10. Later, a transition point was set to Rel-13 standard update with the name LTE-Advanced Pro.
Summarizing, every 2-3 3GPP releases (which is a 3–5-year timeframe) a significant standard update is marked by the updated naming:
- LTE was used for 3GPP Rel-8 and Rel-9
- LTE-Advanced was used within Rel-10 (compliant with ITU-R 4G definition under the name of IMT-Advanced), Rel-11, Rel-12
- LTE-Advanced Pro was the name used within Rel-13 and Rel-14
- 5G is used for Rel-15 (5G Phase I), Rel-16 (5G Phase II compliant to ITU-R 5G definition under the name of IMT-2020) and Rel-17 (5G improvements)
- From Rel-18 onwards the name of the mobile system defined by 3GPP will be 5G-Advanced
 Evolution towards 5G-Advanced (3gpp.org)
Marcin is the author of From LTE to LTE-Advanced Pro and 5G. For more information or to buy, click here