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5G Implementation Guidelines

March 2019
5G Implementation Guidelines

About the GSMA Future Networks Programme

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators
worldwide, uniting nearly 750 operators with almost 300 and the wider mobile industry to deliver All-IP networks so that
companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including everyone benefits regardless of where their starting point
handset and device makers, software companies, equipment might be on the journey.
providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in
The programme has three key work-streams focused on: The
adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-
development and deployment of IP services, The evolution of
leading events such as Mobile World Congress (Barcelona,
the 4G networks in widespread use today, The 5G Journey
Shanghai and Los Angeles) and the Mobile 360 Series of
developing the next generation of mobile technologies and
For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website
For more information, please visit the Future Networks website
at www.gsma.com. Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.
at: www.gsma.com/futurenetworks
Document Editor
Sandra Ondrusova, CK Hutchison

5G Implementation Guidelines

Introduction taskforce members for their contribution and
review of this document:
5G is becoming a reality as early adopters
have already commercialized data-oriented 5G  AT&T Mobility
networks in 2018 and are planning to launch  EE Limited
consumer mobile 5G in 2019 and beyond.  Ericsson
Whilst early adopters do not necessarily  Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.
require guidance, there are still majority of the  Hutchison 3G UK Limited
operator community that are yet to launch  LG Electronics Inc.
commercial 5G services. This document  MediaTek Inc.
intends to provide a checklist for operators that
 Nokia
are planning to launch 5G networks in NSA
(non-standalone) Option 3 configuration.
 Softbank Corp.
 Syniverse Technologies, Inc.
Scope  Telecom Italia SpA
 Telefónica S.A.
This document provides technological,
 Telia Finland Oyj
spectrum and regulatory considerations in the
 United States Cellular Corporation
 Utimaco TS GmbH
This version of the document currently  Verizon Wireless
provides detailed guidelines for implementation  ZTE Corporation
of 5G using Option 3, reflecting the initial
launch strategy being adopted by multiple
operators. However, as described in “GSMA Abbreviations
Operator Requirements for 5G Core Term Description
Connectivity Options” there is a need for the 2D 2 Dimensions
industry ecosystem to support all of the 5G 3D 3 Dimensions
core connectivity options (namely Option 2,
3GPP 3rd Generation Partnership Project
Option 4, Option 5 and Option 7) in addition to
5GC 5G Core
Option 3. As a result, this document will be
AMBR Aggregate Maximum Bit Rate
updated during 2019 to provide guidelines for
all 5G deployment options. Access and Mobility Management
Editor’s note: The topics listed in this document AN Access Network
is not exhaustive and is open to
APN Access Point Name
suggestion/contribution by any company.
AR Augmented Reality
Please contact futurenetworks@gsma.com
ARD Access Restriction Data
AVP Attribute-Value pairs
Acknowledgements The Body of European Regulators for
Electronic Communications
Special thanks to the following GSMA
BPSK Binary Phase Shift Keying
Checklist for Non-Standalone 5G Deployment
BW Bandwidth

5G Implementation Guidelines

Term Description Term Description

CA Carrier Aggregation LTE Long Term Evolution
CC Component Carrier MAC Medium Access Control
CDR Charging Data Record MBR Maximum Bit Rate
COTS Commercial Off The Shelf MCG Master Cell Group
CRS Cell-specific Reference Signal ME Mobile Equipment
CU Centralized Unit MIMO Multiple-Input Multiple-Output
CUPS Control and User Plane Separation MME Mobility Management Entity
DC Dual Connectivity mMTC Mobile Machine Type Communications
DL Downlink MN Master Node
DNS Domain Name System MOCN Multi-Operator Core Network
DSL Digital Subscriber Line MORAN Multi-Operator Radio Access Network
DU Distributed Unit MU-
Multi-user MIMO
Enhanced Common Public Radio
Interface NAS Non-Access-Stratum
eLTE Enhanced LTE NFV Network Function Virtualization
eMBB Enhanced Mobile Broadband NGEN-
NG-RAN – E-UTRA Dual Connectivity
eNB eNode B DC

EN-DC E-UTRAN New Radio – Dual Connectivity NR New Radio

NR New Radio
EPC Evolved Packet Core
NSA Non StandAlone
EPS Evolved Packet System
enhanced Single Radio Voice Call OCS Online Charging System
Continuity PCRF Policy and Charging Rules Function
Evolved-Universal Terrestrial Radio PDCP Packet Data Convergence Protocol
PDN Packet Data Network
FQDN Fully Qualified Domain Name PGW PDN Gateway
FTTX Fiber To The X POP Point of Presence
FWA Fixed Wireless Access
PRACH Packet Random Access Channel
GBR Guaranteed Bit Rate PTP Point to Point
gNB gNode B PUCCH Physical Uplink Control Channel
GW Gateway
QAM Quadrature Amplitude Modulation
HARQ Hybrid Automatic Repeat Request
QCI QoS Class Identifier
HE Home Environment QoS Quality of Service
HPLMN Home Public Land Mobile Network
QPSK Quadrature Phase Shift Keying
HSS Home Subscriber Server
RAN Radio Access Network
IMS IP Multimedia Subsystem RAT Radio Access Type
International Mobile Telecommunication
IMT-2020 RLC Radio Link Control
system with a target date set for 2020
RoHC Robust Header Compression
IP Internet Protocol
RRC Radio Resource Control
IT Information Technology
SA StandAlone
International Telecommunication Union
ITU-R SAE System Architecture Evolution
Radiocommunication Sector

5G Implementation Guidelines

Term Description References

SCG Secondary Cell Group
Ref Title
SC- Single Carrier – Orthogonal Frequency GSMA PRD IR.92, IMS Profile for Voice and
OFDM Division Multiplexing [1]
SDN Software Defined Networking “BEREC Report on infrastructure sharing”,
SGW Serving Gateway BEREC 2018.
SLA Service Level Agreement GSMA PRD IR.65, IMS Roaming and
Interworking Guidelines
SMS Short Message Service
GSMA PRD NG.113, 5GS Roaming
[4] Guidelines
SN Secondary Node
Note: Document will be available in Q4/2019
SN Serving Network
GSMA PRD NG.114, IMS Profile for Voice,
SRVCC Single Radio Voice Call Continuity [5] Video and SMS over 5G
SUL Supplementary Uplink Note: Document will be available in Q1/2020

SU-MIMO Single-user MIMO 3GPP TS 23.501, System Architecture for the

5G System
TCO Total Cost of Ownership
3GPP TS 22.261, Service requirements for
TDD Time Division Duplexing [7]
next generation new services and markets
TS Technical Specification
3GPP TS 33.401, 3GPP System Architecture
UE User Equipment Evolution (SAE); Security architecture
UL Uplink 3GPP TS 33.501, Security architecture and
UP User Plane procedures for 5G System

Ultra Reliable Low Latency GSMA PRD FS.19, Diameter interconnect

uRLLC [10]
Communications security

VI Virtual Infrastructure [11] GSMA Mobile Policy Handbook

VNF Virtual Network Function Migration from Physical to Virtual Network

[12] Functions: Best Practices and Lessons
Vo5G Voice over 5G Learned
VoCS Voice over Circuit Switch
VoIMS Voice over IMS
VoLTE Voice over LTE
VoNR Voice over NR
VoWiFi Voice over WiFi
VPLMN Visited Public Land Mobile Network
VR Virtual Reality
WRC World Radiocommunication Conference
xDSL x Digital Subscriber Line

5G Implementation Guidelines

Overview .................................................. 3 2.14 Outlook .................................................... 28
Introduction ........................................................3 Annex A Document Management ....... 30
Scope ..................................................................3 A.1 Document History ............................... 30
Acknowledgements ...........................................3 A.2 Other Information ................................ 30
Abbreviations .....................................................3
References .........................................................5
Contents .................................................. 6
1. Commercialisation of 5G .................... 8
1.1 Fixed Wireless Access ................................8
1.2 Enhanced Mobile Broadband .....................8
2. Prerequisite for initial 5G NSA Option
3 launch ................................................. 11
2.1 Introduction ............................................... 11
2.2 Spectrum ................................................... 12
2.2.1 Bands earmarked for 5G and their
possible utilisation ......................................... 12
2.2.2 Amount of spectrum needed ............... 13
2.3 4G Radio network updates ...................... 13
2.3.1 Number of sites needed ...................... 13
2.3.2 LTE upgrade to support EN-DC (Option
3) ................................................................... 14
2.4 4G Core network updates ........................ 14
2.4.1 Option 3/3a/3x Networking Comparison
...................................................................... 14
2.4.2 Impact Analysis on 4G Core Network
Elements ....................................................... 15
2.4.3 4G Core Network Upgrading Strategy . 15
2.5 5G deployment .......................................... 16
2.5.1 Massive MIMO Selection ..................... 17
2.5.2 Coverage Enhancement ...................... 18
2.5.3 Synchronisation Configuration ............. 20
2.5.4 NSA and SA Strategy .......................... 20
2.5.5 5G Network Deployment Strategy in
initial stage .................................................... 21
2.6 Transmission / backhaul .......................... 22
2.7 Devices ...................................................... 22
2.8 Network Sharing ....................................... 23
2.8.1 Benefits of Sharing .............................. 24
2.8.2 Obligations and challenges ................. 24
2.9 Testing ....................................................... 24
2.10 Features ................................................... 24
2.11 Migration to virtualized network/Network
Transformation [12] ........................................ 27
2.12 Roaming .................................................. 28
2.13 Services (IMS – Voice) ........................... 28
2.13.1 Roaming with VoIMS ......................... 28

5G Implementation Guidelines

Commercialisation of 5G

5G Implementation Guidelines

1. Commercialisation of 5G
1.1 Fixed Wireless Access
FWA (Fixed wireless access) refers to a the other hand, can provide a cost
wireless link that provides connectivity to effective and easy connectivity solution
objects that are stationary or nomadic (i.e. to such demands.
almost no movement when connectivity is  Internet of Things: cheaper connectivity
used). This concept has already been frequently solution enables cost effective
used as a substitute to wireline connection in the connectivity for Internet of Things
last mile. Therefore, it is often compared with applications, which tend to require
other last mile connectivity solutions such as cheap connectivity with less stringent
FTTx (Fibre-to-the-x) and xDSL (x Digital requirements than that of the mobile
Subscriber Line). 5G, in all its deployment broadband.
options, enables the FWA to be competitive
substitute to FTTx with its superior radio In addition to the monetary benefits, the mobile
capabilities and therefore offers business operators will be able to provide social benefits
opportunities for the mobile operators to the nation by bridging the digital divide gap
between unconnected and connected.
For mobile operators, the FWA provides cost Furthermore, the broadband connectivity will
effective network deployment solution. As the enable advanced services such as e-learning
wireless links are cheaper to setup and operate, and e-government, contributing to better welfare
the network cost in the last mile will be of the society.
significantly reduced with FWA compared to the
case of FTTx. This means that the broadband
connectivity will be economically feasible with 1.2 Enhanced Mobile Broadband
FWA that would otherwise have been infeasible.
Enhanced mobile broadband refers to the
With FWA, the mobile operators can enjoy the
extension of the data demand that was
following business opportunities.
addressed by traditional mobile broadband. 5G
 Broadband demand currently will provide enhance data speeds and
underserved: with cheaper connectivity experience with its superior radio. Although this
solution, traditionally unconnected is not a new business opportunity, the growth
homes that were considered of data demand persists with increasing uptake
economically infeasible can be of multimedia contents (e.g., video) and some
connected, creating additional markets (e.g., North East Asia and North
broadband revenue stream. America that will experience over 20 Exabytes
 Fixed market that can be upgraded to per month mobile data traffic in 2023: see
broadband: in places where xDSL or Figure 1) have urgent need to address the
copper lines are hard to be replaced, demand data growth.
FWA can offer broadband upgrade and
As a proven business case, enhanced mobile
therefore provide upselling opportunities
broadband is the priority use case in 5G
for existing fixed internet customers.
deployment. Over 70% of CEOs surveyed by
 Time-limited demand: it is economically
GSMA in October 2016 have confirmed such.
infeasible to deploy wireline connection
Although connectivity yields low margin, it
to suit demand that are time-limited
offers stable revenue stream that will be able to
(e.g., seasonal, holiday, etc.). FWA, on

5G Implementation Guidelines

bankroll the deployment of 5G to suit 5G use broadband will differentiate the early adopter
cases other than mobile broadband. from its competitors. Therefore, although being
Furthermore, as mobile broadband is the key traditional business case, enhanced mobile
value proposition that is offered by the broadband will be an integral part of 5G
operator, excelling in enhanced mobile commercialisation.

Figure 1: Global Mobile Data Traffic (Source: Ericsson)

5G Implementation Guidelines

Prerequisite for initial
5G NSA Option 3 launch

5G Implementation Guidelines

2. Prerequisite for initial 5G NSA Option 3 launch

2.1 Introduction beyond mobile broadband. In addition,
depending on how 5G devices are
5G can be deployed in five different
developed, the EPC may need to be retained
deployment options, where SA (standalone)
longer than in the case of having EPS
options consist of only one generation of
(Evolved Packet System) for 4G alone
radio access technology and NSA options
(instead of supporting NSA Option 3).
consist of two generations of radio access
technologies (4G LTE and 5G). The early Standalone option 2 is where radio access
deployments will be adopting either non- network consists of only gNBs (gNode Bs)
standalone option 3 or standalone option 2 as and connects to 5GC (5G Core), and possibly
the standardisation of these two options have the 5GC interworks with EPC (see right side
already been completed. of Figure 2). SA option 2 has no impact on
LTE radio and can fully support all 5G use
Non-standalone option 3 is where radio
cases by enabling network slicing via cloud
access network is composed of eNBs (eNode
native service-based architecture. On the
Bs) as the master node and gNBs (gNode
other hand, this option requires both NR and
Bs) as the secondary node (see left side of
5GC, making time-to-market slower and
Figure 2). The radio access network is
deployment cost higher than that of NSA
connected to EPC (Evolved Packet Core).
option 3. Furthermore, the devices would
The NSA option 3, as it leverages existing 4G
need to support NR and core network
deployment, can be brought to market quickly
protocols so it would take more time to
with minor modification to the 4G network.
develop devices. Finally, as the standalone
This option also supports legacy 4G devices
5G System would need to interwork with EPS
and the 5G devices only need to support NR
to ensure service continuity depending on
(New Radio) protocols so device can also be
coverage, the interworking between EPC and
developed quickly. On the other hand, NSA
5GC may be necessary.
option does not introduce 5GC and therefore
may not be optimised for new 5G use cases

Figure 2: High-level architecture of NSA Option 3 and SA Option 2

5G Implementation Guidelines

2.2 Spectrum Another band that has been gaining

popularity for use in 5G is the so called
2.2.1 Bands earmarked for 5G and their millimeter wave band that includes spectrum
possible utilisation spanning from 24GHz to 29.5GHz as well as
Availability of a suitable amount of spectrum spectrum in the 37GHz to 43.5GHz. The very
is the most important prerequisite to launch fast attenuation of the radio signal at these
5G. While globally harmonised bands will be frequencies has cast doubts on the potential
allocated formally at WRC-19, several of using this spectrum to provide wide area
countries and regions have already identified coverage especially in the uplink direction
candidate bands and in some cases already where MIMO and beamforming may not be
allocated them. as effective as in the downlink, however field
When 5G deployment is driven by providing trials and simulations indicate that there is a
enhanced mobile broadband, the S and C key role to be played by mmWave in 5G.
bands, communications bands extending 28GHz for example, is the band used for
from 2GHz to 4GHz and 4GHz to 8GHz many of the Fixed Wireless Access trials and
respectively, accommodate the 3.4GHz to 4.2 commercial launches and radio cells
GHz frequency range which seems to be the operating in mmWave are suitable for
most suitable option. These bands have been creating a thick capacity layer where needed
identified in many countries as primary bands (hotspots) as well as for many enterprise
for 5G and as Figure 3 shows, global scenarios.
harmonisation seems feasible in the lower
part of such bands thus unlocking economies The main attractiveness of mmWave, as
of scale in devices. Figure 4 shows, is the availability of a very
large bandwidth and the strong potential for
global harmonization.

Figure 3: Spectrum in the S and C bands earmarked for use in 5G in

selected countries

5G Implementation Guidelines

Figure 4: Spectrum allocation in mmWave for selected countries

2.2.2 Amount of spectrum needed beamforming are unpractical due to the

It should be observed that the ITU IMT-2020 limited real estate in the device, therefore if
requirements, especially with regards to the uplink was to use the same frequencies
maximum throughput are based on the as downlink, the size of the cell would
assumption of using 100MHz channels. From “shrink” to the maximum range in the uplink.
an analysis of the results of recent spectrum To overcome this problem it has been
auctions in the 3.5 GHz spectrum, it was proposed to utilise lower band spectrum such
observed that only in few cases (e.g. as the 1800 MHz spectrum for the uplink data
Hungary 2016, United Kingdom 2018) (i.e. supplementary uplink). The key
operators will have that amount of spectrum difference between using carrier aggregation
available. The consequence is that the actual for uplink and using uplink/downlink split is
throughput that can be extracted from the 5G that carrier aggregation attempts to enhance
system will be inferior to the IMT-2020 the bandwidth (therefore capacity) of the
requirement. It is important that operators are uplink while uplink/downlink split is used to
in the position to deliver 5G at a lower cost extend the coverage of the UE. While carrier
per Gbyte, therefore an allocation of at least aggregation can increase the capacity by
100MHz is vital for such use cases. utilizing multiple component carriers (e.g.,
20Mhz band in 1.8GHz and 20Mhz band in
800Mhz), uplink/downlink split makes the UE
2.3 4G Radio network updates
use different component carrier for uplink
2.3.1 Number of sites needed (e.g., 20MHz band in 1.8GHz) from that of
Thanks to the possibility of utilising advanced the downlink (e.g., 20MHz band in 3.5GHz).
antenna techniques such as MIMO and Note: In general it is possible to use CA in
beamforming, simulations have shown the conjunction with DC. That is CCs can be
feasibility of matching the downlink coverage aggregated (in E-UTRA and/or NR) and then
provided by LTE 1800 MHz with 5G radio DC is applied.
base stations operating at 3.5 GHz: the same
cell grid can therefore be reused for the initial
rollout. In the uplink direction MIMO and
5G Implementation Guidelines

2.3.2 LTE upgrade to support EN-DC variant, it also minimizes excessive signalling
(Option 3) traffic between RAN and core.
For a successful deployment of EN-DC the
4G network needs to support dual 2.4 4G Core network updates
connectivity between E-UTRAN (LTE) and 4G Core network updating considerations
NR. This enhancement allows a device to mainly include option 3/3a/3x networking
consume radio resources provided by both comparison, 4G core network upgrade
4G and 5G. Typically the 4G radio will be strategy, network function upgrading.
used to carry control signalling while NR
and/or LTE will be used for user data. Three 2.4.1 Option 3/3a/3x Networking
variants of the NSA solution have been Comparison
defined each producing a different impact on NSA EPC networking architecture includes
the LTE network. Option 3, Option 3a, and Option 3x.
Option 3 uses the MN (Master Node) In the Option 3 networking mode, the X2
terminated MCG (Master Cell Group) bearer interface traffic between eNB and gNB has
for signalling and MN terminated split bearer NSA user plane traffic. This traffic is huge. The
for user data. The goal of option 3 is to utilize core network needs to increase the bandwidth
existing 4G network as much as possible, so of the S1-U interface to meet the LTE/NSA
impact on EPC is minimal. However, option 3 transmission requirements.
has the highest impact on the LTE RAN, as
In the Option 3a networking mode, there is
eNBs need to be scaled for additional
only control plane traffic in the X2 interface. So
potential capacity demand from 5G NR. while
the X2 traffic is very small.
A variant (Option 3x) uses the MN terminated
MCG bearer for signalling and SN terminated In the Option 3x networking mode, there is a
split bearer for user data, meaning that EPC little LTE user plane traffic in the X2 interface.
is not impacted with the variant. This variant From the perspective of the impact on the
enables data to route directly to the NR gNB existing network, the Option 3x is relatively
to avoid excessive user plane load on the small and has become the mainstream
existing LTE eNB, which was designed for choice for NSA networking. By using 4G as
4G LTE traffic load and not additional NR the anchor point of the control plane, it can
traffic load. As service continuity after loss of meet good service continuity and support
5G radio coverage is more graceful in this rapid network construction in the initial stage
of 5G deployment.

Figure 5: NSA Option 3/3a/3x Networking Mode

5G Implementation Guidelines

Table 1: Update requirement

NE Upgrade Requirement
MME  Support high bandwidth with extended QoS
 Support 5G subscription access control (DCNR, Secondary RAT)
 Support reporting Secondary RAT traffic
 Support adding the DNS FQDN information with the NC-NR tag and querying the NSA SAE-GW
DNS  Match the DNS FQDN with the NC-NR tag and return the NSA SAE-GW information (no upgrade
SGW/PGW  Support high bandwidth with extended QoS
 Support 5G subscription access control (DCNR, Secondary RAT)
 Support reporting Secondary RAT traffic
CG/OCS  CDR supports high bandwidth with extended Qos field portability
 CDR supports Secondary RAT field portability
 CDR adds 5G traffic report Secondary RAT Usage Reports
HSS  ARD access restriction data adds 5G NR access restriction
 AMBR maximum guaranteed bandwidth adds the maximum uplink/downlink bandwidth
 Extended-Max-Requested-BW-UL
 Extended-Max-Requested-BW-DL
PCRF  A new QoS extended bandwidth AVP is added to the Gx interface:
 Extended-Max-Requested-BW-DL and Extended-Max-Requested-BW-UL AVP
 Extended-GBR-DL and Extended-GBR-UL AVP
 Extended-APN-AMBR-DL and Extended-APN-AMBR-UL AVP

2.4.2 Impact Analysis on 4G Core 2.4.3 4G Core Network Upgrading

Network Elements Strategy
Dual Connectivity used for Master eNodeB to EPC types include physical EPC based on
connect to Secondary eNodeB has been dedicated hardware and virtualized EPC
standardized in 4G network. NSA Option based on COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf)
3/3a/3x has adopted the 4G Dual Connectivity hardware. There are two typical scenarios for
process. EPC upgrade to support 5G deployment.
The impact on 4G core network elements Scenario A:
supports the NSA, which is shown in Table 1.
 Physical EPC is upgraded to support
To support NSA, the 4G core network needs NSA.
to do a small software upgrade to add or  Capacity expansion is based on physical
expand several parameters. There is no need EPC.
to make any modifications to the hardware. Scenario B:
The overall process including handover is not
 Build a new virtualized EPC network to
different from that of 4G network.
support NSA independently.
 Interoperability is made between the new
virtualized EPC and the physical EPC.
 Capacity expansion is based on the
virtualized EPC.

5G Implementation Guidelines

Figure 6: EPC Upgrading for NSA Deployment

Scenario A is the easiest way, but it has also current stage, based on the 3GPP R15
brought a big drawback. When evolving to 5G standard, 5G network focuses on eMBB
SA, this physical EPC based on dedicated service, so 5G target network needs to meet
hardware cannot be used in a virtualized the typical eMBB service experience
environment. This scenario depends on the requirements.
capabilities of the existing network equipment
3GPP has defined the performance
vendors. Compared to scenario A, scenario B
requirements for high data rates and traffic
can be smoothly evolved to the target
densities as the following table in 3GPP TS
network through the expansion of virtualized
22.261 [7], and 50Mbps at downlink is the
basic requirement of eMBB service
experience (see Table 2)
2.5 5G deployment From a business perspective, 4K/8K video
and VR are eMBB typical services. As shown
5G network deployment considerations mainly
in the following table, these services require a
include target network planning, Massive
downlink throughput of 50 to 100 Mbps and
MIMO selection, coverage optimization
an uplink rate of 3 to 5 Mbps (see Table 3).
especially in uplink, time slot synchronization
configuration, NSA and SA strategy and For the 5G network deployment in early
network deployment steps. Target Network stage, downlink 100Mbps and uplink 5Mbps
Planning are required to meet the service experience
ITU-defined 5G applications include three
types: eMBB, mMTC and uRLLC. At the

Table 2: Performance requirements for high data rates and traffic

Scenario Experienced Experienced Area traffic Area traffic Overall user
data rate (DL) data rate (UL) capacity (DL) capacity (UL) density
Urban 50 Mbps 25 Mbps 100 Gbps/km2 50 Gbps/km2 10 000/km2
Rural 50 Mbps 25 Mbps 1 Gbps/km2 500 Mbps/km2 100/km2
Indoor hotspot 1 Gbps 500 Mbps 15 Tbps/km2 2 Tbps/km2 250 000/km2

Dense urban 300 Mbps 50 Mbps 750 Gbps/km2 125 Gbps/km2 25 000/km2
High-speed 50 Mbps 25 Mbps [100] Gbps/km2 [50] Gbps/km2 4 000/km2

5G Implementation Guidelines

Table 3: Service requirements

Service Resolution 2D 3D
720P ~1.5Mbps

Smart phone/ Surveillance 1080P ~4Mbps

2K ~10Mbps
4K/ Basic VR/AR 4K ~25Mbps ~50Mbps
8K/Immersive VR/AR 8K ~50Mbps ~100Mbps

2.5.1 Massive MIMO Selection Engineering constraint is also an important

Massive MIMO can improve both coverage aspect to consider. In some scenarios, there
and capacity and is a key technical solution are limits to the weight and volume of the
for 5G network. But the deployment of Massive MIMO device. For example, in South
Massive MIMO requires three considerations Korea, the engineering department requires
including performance requirements, AAU weight not to exceed 25Kg, and the
installation requirements, and TCO saving. installation of equipment over 40Kg requires
the use of Crane in the Netherlands, which
64T64R provide best coverage and capacity. costs 1K Euro per 6 hours. In this scenario,
As shown in Figure 7 and Figure 8, 64T64R 32T is an option for deploying 5G networks.
provides more than 3 times capacity gain and
8dB coverage gain in urban scenarios Compared with the 64T/32T, the 16T has
compared to the 8T8R. only one beam in vertical dimension, which
cannot be flexibly adjusted to meet different
In the initial stage of 5G, from the perspective scene coverage requirements as Figure 9
of coverage and capacity maximization, it is shown, while the 64T/32T can match multiple
recommended that 5G and 4G co-site scene coverage requirements based on 3D
deployment to ensure continuous coverage Beamforming feature.
and reduce planning and optimization costs.

Figure 7/8: 64T Coverage Gain (times/DB)

* 8T8R coverage as baseline
5.0 4.6
4.5 10
4.0 3.7
3.5 2.9 3.1 8 7
2.8 6.5
3.0 2.4 2.4 6
2.5 1.9 2.1 6 5
1.8 1.7 1.6
1.5 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 4 3 3 3
0.5 2
Dense Urban Dense Urban Urban Suburban 0
Dense Urban Tall Urban (200m< Suburban (ISD>700m)
Tall Building Low Building (ISD=500m) (ISD=900m)
Building(ISD≤200m) ISD≤700m)
(ISD=200m) (ISD=300m)

8T 16T 32T 64T 8T 16T 32T 64T

5G Implementation Guidelines

Figure 9: Comparison between 64T/32T and 16T

5G network deployment needs to fully downlink coverage. As shown in Figure 10,

consider performance, cost, space and taking the downlink 50Mbps and the uplink
weight limitation, etc. Despite higher single 5Mbps as an example, the C-band uplink and
site cost, 64T is the best in terms of total cost downlink coverage differs by 16.2dB.
thanks to significant site count reduction.
The C-Band downlink can achieve the similar
Because the difficulty of site acquisition has
coverage as the LTE 1800M, but there is
increased significantly, the cost of 64T site
limitation in the uplink coverage and becomes
construction is the lowest as shown in the
5G deployment bottleneck which will affect
following table. 64T/32T has become the first
the user experience. As shown in Figure 11,
choice for operators to deploy 5G networks.
the difference between C-Band and LTE
2.5.2 Coverage Enhancement 1800M uplink coverage is 7.6 dB for 2R and
C-band is the primary band for 5G network 10.4dB for 4R.
and it has the large bandwidth making it
perfect for 5G eMBB services. Downlink
coverage is better than uplink coverage on C-
band spectrum due to the large downlink
transmit power of the gNodeB and to
disproportion in uplink and downlink timeslot
allocations of NR. The application of
technologies such as beamforming and cell-
specific reference signal (CRS)-free reduces
downlink interference and further increases
the difference between C-band uplink and

Table 4: Comparison between 64T, 32T and 16T

To Cover Same Area 64T 32T 16T
Require Site Number 1 1.18X 1.48X
CAPEX 1 0.95X 1.11X
OPEX 1 1.55X 2.83X

5G Implementation Guidelines

Figure 10: Uplink and Downlink Coverage difference of C-Band

Figure 11: Uplink Coverage difference between C-Band and LTE 1800

3GPP Release 15 introduces the is used for the downlink and a sub-3 GHz
supplementary uplink (SUL). The use of SUL band (for example, 1.8 GHz) for the uplink,
effectively utilizes idle sub-3 GHz band thereby improving uplink coverage. Figure 12
resources, improves the uplink coverage of shows how UL and DL Decoupling works.
C-band, and enables the provisioning of 5G
Field tests show that UL and DL decoupling
services in a wider area. Based on the SUL,
feature can improve both uplink and downlink
the feature Uplink and Downlink Decoupling
experience by 6 times (see Figure 13).
defines new paired spectrums, where C-band

Figure 12/13: Uplink and Downlink Decoupling, Field Test Result of

Uplink and Downlink Decoupling

5G Implementation Guidelines

Figure 14: Interference and Guardband with non-synchronization

time slot

Figure 15: 4:1 and 8:2 time slot configuration

2.5.3 Synchronisation Configuration In the scenario without C-Band TDD LTE, a

The TDD system has the same TX/RX 4:1 configuration can be used and NR 8:2
frequency bands, the TX signal of the matches existing TD-LTE network making
asynchronous system directly interferes with spectrum fully utilized. (see Figure 15)
RX frequency band, If 5G macro-cell
2.5.4 NSA and SA Strategy
networks are not synchronized, more than 25
3GPP defines NSA and SA architectures and
MHz additional guard band together with
the two architectures have been concluded.
additional transceiver filters would be
Option 3x for NSA and Option 2 for SA has
required. Thus, synchronization of 5G
become an industry consensus.
network becomes the best way to avoid
interference. In this way, efficient spectrum SA is the target architecture, but the NSA
usage is ensured – no additional guard band ecosystem leads the SA for 6 months. The
is required – and network equipment cost can NSA can quickly deploy 5G network to
be reduced (see Figure 14). support eMBB services and can be software
upgraded to SA in the future. Key factors of
For operators in the same country and region,
NSA / SA architecture selection listed in
it is recommended to use the unique
Table 5.
synchronisation configuration in the adjacent
frequency bands to avoid interference.

Figure 16: Option 3x for NSA and Option 2 for SA

5G Implementation Guidelines

Table 5: Comparison between NSA Option 3 and SA Option 2

Option 3x Option 2
17Q4 18Q2
Option3x support 5G initial fast deployment, Option 2 0.5~1year late

Data Experience Option3x DC Better Handover Experience, better Peak Rate, 1year earlier than SA DC
NSA/SA DC ensure coverage with service continuity, SUL extends NSA/SA NR coverage.

Suitable solution with the experience at same level

Service Readiness eMBB eMBB/uRLLC/mMTC

Deployment complexity
NSA with mandatory DC needs LTE upgrade; SUL which extends SA Coverage need LTE
upgrade, complexity at same level
DC SUL / Refarming
Relevance with existing
LTE DC, SUL are both relevant to LTE; Coordination after Refarming Legacy LTE is important,
NSA/SA are both closely relevant to legacy LTE.

2.5.5 5G Network Deployment Strategy in scenarios, users, and services to enhance

initial stage brand and user experience.
Compared with 4G, the capacity of 5G
 High-value scenarios and areas include
network is larger, which can greatly enhance
CBD, universities, governments,
the user experience. So in the initial stage,
hospitals, airports, subways, etc.
5G network will be deployed in the 4G area
 High-value users include three type users:
with high traffic load. That means that
high package, high traffic volume an high
operators will focus on core urban areas,
value terminal.
hotspots, and high value areas to rapidly
 Besides eMBB services such as video
deploy 5G networks and provide services
and VR, operators focus on industry
with traffic and brand demand.
incubation, evaluate the earliest mature
In addition, operators need to consider 5G areas including connected drones,
network deployment from high value industrial internet, telemedicine and so on
and work with innovative partners.
Figure 17: 3 Areas for Initial 5G Deployment

5G Implementation Guidelines

2.6 Transmission / backhaul and could support all protocols requested by

SA implementation.
Fronthaul implementation is considered as a
key element in order to manage mobile data A device that needs to work within a Network
growth, reduced latency required by 5G use implementing SA option, it shall support all
cases and provide scalability in terms of RAN protocols requested by SA implementation
densification, micro cells deployment and and could support all protocols requested by
future evolutions towards Cloud RAN. NSA implementation.
Regarding interfaces to be adopted, eCPRI As true for Network deployment also for
seems to be the main candidate for RRU and device deployment the support to the NSA
CU/DU connection for the 5G scenario, with a option, with the eNBs (eNode Bs) as the
bandwidth granularity of 25 Gbit/s. Even master node, could be faster than the whole
though CPRI is currently proposed for 4G SA deployment.
Fronthaul deployment, the aim should be to
The above NSA option could permit to the
adopt a single interface, eCPRI, for both 4G
devices to avoid supporting also 5G core
and 5G networks with defined requirements in
network protocols at first stage.
term of Jitter/latency.
While for Network deployment supporting SA
It is still to be investigated the opportunity to
options the device needs to support whole
deploy also Midhaul segment, e.g. by mean of
5G core network protocols with higher
aggregation rings between Distributed Unit
deployment cost and time.
(DU) and Centralized Unit (CU).
Based on the experience for 3G and 4G
Given the fact that 5G networks are mainly
technologies also for 5G technologies we
based on TDD multiplexing, accurate Phase
expect progressive deployment and support
synchronization is mandatory. The
of whole 5G functionalities in order to find a
implementation of a GPS receiver on each
way to average the time-to-market with the
radio system represents a first stage solution,
new services support.
even though this approach comes with high
deployment cost and reliability or security Same approach is valid for devices also
issues. The second solution is based on PTP when we consider the support to the different
ITU profiles implementation in Partial Timing frequency bands.
Support or Full Timing Support. On one side the support to the sub-6GHz
IPSec deployment in 5G transport network band can create affordable challenge to the
will have to consider potential Edge device manufacturers permitting a faster
Computing implementation. In fact, the shift time-to-market; on the other side this band is
of Virtualized Functions at the edge of the not optimised for new 5G use cases except
network will imply to not use IPSec or the mobile broadband.
terminate IPsec tunnels at Edge POP level. Instead the so called mmWave bands are the
optimised bands to support the whole 5G
services and use cases; but due to the very
2.7 Devices
fast attenuation of the radio signal and the
The device deployment needs to follow the difficulties to manage so high frequencies
related Network deployment option. their support can create big challenges to
device manufacturers requesting more time
A device that needs to work within a Network
and higher cost compared with only
implementing NSA option, it shall support all
Sub6GHz support.
protocols requested by NSA implementation

5G Implementation Guidelines

Based on above aspects the test-set related antennas/transceivers, base station, backhaul
to the 5G devices should be customized networks and controllers) and core network
based on device functionalities support, (servers and core network functionalities).
considering different sub-set related to NSA, This form can be further classified into
SA, Sub6GHz, mmWave, VoNR. MORAN (Multi-Operator Radio Access
Network), where radio access networks is
shared and dedicated spectrum is used by
2.8 Network Sharing each sharing operator, MOCN (Multi-Operator
Mobile networks operate on a network Core Network), where radio access networks
infrastructure, which is not only limited to and spectrum are shared, and core network
electronic components, but also includes sharing, where servers and core network
passive elements such as physical sites and functionalities are shared.
towers that are required to operate network. Note that passive infrastructure sharing is the
As network have been densified from simplest and can be implemented per sites,
previous generations to 4G, sharing of which enables operators to easily share sites
network infrastructure is becoming more and maintain their strategic competitiveness
popular. This is expected to continue in the depending on the sites shared. Operation is
5G era where networks will be densified even also easier with this form of sharing because
more. Network sharing comes in many forms, network equipment remains separated.
but it is mostly classified according to the However, the cost saving potential of sharing
technological components that are being is limited relative to other forms of sharing.
shared (see Figure 18).
MORAN and MOCN enables greater cost
Passive infrastructure sharing is where non- sharing potential than passive sharing, and
electronic infrastructure at a cell site, such as they can be implemented per sites and
power supply and management system, and enables strategic differentiation. However,
physical elements such backhaul transport operation of network equipment needs to be
networks are shared. This form can be further shared (or at least issues must be shared with
classified into site sharing, where physical participants) and therefore increases the
sites of base stations are shared, and shared complexity of sharing relative to site sharing.
backhaul, where transport networks from radio Core network is complicated to operate and to
controller to base stations are shared. maintain strategic differentiation. It is
Active infrastructure sharing is sharing of important to note that core network sharing
electronic infrastructure of the network has not been popular and only few cases have
including radio access network (consists of been suspected to be so.

Figure 18: Classification of network infrastructure sharing

5G Implementation Guidelines

2.8.1 Benefits of Sharing the basis of services, the regulatory

BEREC [2] published a document where the obligation of mobile networks tends to focus
following benefits are listed: on the network connectivity and consequently
the infrastructure. This concern can be
 Cost Savings benefits: minimized if the sharing is limited to the
 passive sharing cost savings: [16%- scope of passive infrastructure. As active
35%] CAPEX, [16%-35%] OPEX; components can be differentiated while
 active sharing (excl. spectrum) cost optimising the cost of passive infrastructure,
savings: [33%-35%] CAPEX, [25%- competition among sharing operators can still
33%] OPEX; be active.
 active sharing (incl. spectrum) cost
Furthermore, it is very challenging to
savings: [33%-45%] CAPEX, [30%-
consolidate existing network infrastructure to
33%] OPEX;
share. An existing network is a result of
 core network sharing: core network
planning and operations phases based on
sharing cost savings are limited.
specific operator requirements, and
 Environmental benefits – reduces energy
consolidating existing networks is likely to be
consumption, mitigate citizens’ concern
difficult if any of the requirements conflict. As
over radiation
NSA option 3 leverages existing LTE network
 Customer experience – sharing can lead infrastructure, it may also be challenging to
to better quality of the services, better implement network infrastructure sharing,
coverage, higher data speed. unless it is limited to new NR base stations.
 Coverage obligation can be met The sharing of network infrastructure may be
The reduced cost can be diverted to other more feasible with SA option 2, where both
services and innovation, maximizing the radio access and core networks will be newly
potential of the capital resources of the deployed, given that the operators will
mobile operator. Furthermore, network collaborate from the planning phase.
infrastructure sharing resolves difficulties in
acquiring sites for the access network, where
sharing operators can jointly cooperate to 2.9 Testing
acquire sites. Consequently, the cost of 5G
In deploying NSA 5G network, the items in
deployment can be reduced with sharing of
Table 6 need to be tested to ensure reliable
costs/difficulties associated with sites. The
and functional 5G network.
technical enablers in the 5G era such as SDN
(Software Defined Networking) and NFV
(Network Function Virtualization) also makes 2.10 Features
the network more accommodating to the
network infrastructure sharing. NSA 5G networks provide the features as
described in Table 7.

2.8.2 Obligations and challenges

Network infrastructure sharing may lead to
hindrance in competition among mobile
network operators. When the network
infrastructure is shared, it is inherently difficult
to differentiate or corroborate own network
infrastructure to compete against the sharing
partners. Whilst it is possible to compete on

5G Implementation Guidelines

Table 6: Test items for NSA Deployments

Content Item Function
LTE/NR Interface To test X2 interface
MCG Bearer To test MCG bearer functionality
SCG Bearer To test SCG bearer functionality
MCG Split Bearer To test MCG split bearer functionality
SCG Split Bearer To test SCG split bearer functionality
LTE/NR DC mobility SN Addition To test SgNB addition functionality
SN Re-configuration To test SgNB re-configuration functionality
LTE/NR DC Handover To test LTE/NR DC handover functionality
Data split algorithm DL Data Split Algorithm To test DL data split algorithm
UL Data Split Algorithm To test UL data split algorithm
Single UE DL Throughput To test single UE DL throughput
Performance Single UE UL Throughput To test single UE UL throughput
Cell DL Peak Throughput To test cell DL throughput
Cell UL Peak Throughput To test cell UL throughput
Latency Control Plane Latency To test control plane latency
User Plane Latency To test user plane latency
SU-MIMO DL To test SU-MIMO DL functionality (2 steams)
Massive MIMO MU-MIMO DL To test MU-MIMO DL functionality (16/24 steams)
MU-MIMO UL To test MU-MIMO UL functionality (8/16 steams)

5G Implementation Guidelines

Table 7: Features supported by NSA Deployments

Content Item
NSA Network Option3/3a/3x/7/7a/7x/4/4a
System Information Broadcasting
Random Access Procedure
Radio Access Bearer Management
Interface Management (S1-U/X2/Xn/F1)
SN Change Procedure in NSA
Mobility Management Intra-MN Hand Over without SN Change in NSA
Intra-MN Hand Over with SN Add/Release/Change in NSA
Inter-MN Hand Over without SN Change in NSA
Inter-MN Hand Over with SN Add/Release/Change in NSA
Radio Admission Control
Radio Resource Congestion Control
Load Control
QoS Management MBR for non-GBR services
Legacy Standard QCI
MAC PDU and Functions
User Plane Process RLC PDU and Functions
PDCP PDU and Functions
Robust Header Compression (RoHC)
RAN Split and Cloud Integrated Management and Control
Network Function Virtualization
Basic Physical Layer Support
Basic Modulation Schemes (BPSK/QPSK/16QAM/64QAM/256QAM)
Subcarrier Spacing(15/30/60/120KHz)
Radio Part
PRACH with Long/Short Sequence
Slot Format Configuration
Dynamic Scheduling

5G Implementation Guidelines

2.11 Migration to virtualized also leads to potential lock-in to specific IT

network/Network Transformation [12] vendors as only few vendors would be able to
provide telco-grade solutions. There is also
5G core networks will be designed with the
challenge in enlarged base of stakeholders
assumption that the network will be fully
and resulting integration of products. Finally,
virtualized and cloud native. In addition, 3GPP
the cost can increase if VNF (Virtual Network
has standardized CUPS technology that
Function) and VI (Virtualized Infrastructure)
decouples control and user plane of the 4G
managers are proprietary.
core network. This means that the operators
would need to consider stable migration from Fortunately, the experience of the operators
their legacy 4G network consisting of can help other mobile operators in the
proprietary equipment to a virtualized network. migration journey to fully virtualized network.
In initial stages of virtualisation, single vendor
In addition to transitioning to the new paradigm
approach may have advantages as it avoids
of core networks in 5G, virtualized networks
complicated troubleshooting and cross layer
possess promising advantages in terms of
fault detection. Such integration savings can
costs, time to market and fostering service
also be realised lowering the Total Cost of
innovation. Before adopting fully virtualized
Ownership. Second, an end-to-end design of
network of 5G core network, operators can
the network can help achieve the telco-grade
familiarize themselves with the new paradigm
quality as industry standards for virtualised
by migrating their legacy 4G networks to a
components are generally below telco-grade
virtual one. However, the migration to virtual
and hence end-to-end approach helps to
network is not free from hurdles and needs
overcome it. Third, the operator organisation
careful considerations.
needs to reflect the shift in operations and
GSMA Future Networks Programme management paradigm associated with
conducted case studies of leading operators virtualized network, as the current
that have virtualized their 4G core networks organization fit for legacy operations and
and IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem). These management would not be appropriate. In
leading operators all point out that there are relation to this point, operators may benefit
many challenges and risks in migrating a from becoming integrators of the equipment
legacy network to a fully virtualized network. used in their networks and train staff
First, ensuring carrier grade SLA (Service accordingly, as virtualized network is
Level Agreement) on IT platform is a great analogous to an integrated system for specific
challenge, for example five 9s availability. This purposes.

Figure 19: Roaming architecture






5G Implementation Guidelines

2.12 Roaming The Home Routed solution is usually the path

for data / Internet roaming (e.g. for 3G and
5G NSA Option 3 will not introduce any
4G) but has been used in 4G for (Vo)IMS
changes to the existing roaming architecture
roaming because it offers a quicker and
and procedures. It is up to the VPLMN
easier deployment solution independent of
operator to correctly configure the gNB and
the VPMN despite some constraints and
prevent other subscribers to register.
additional standardisation effort that was
required (e.g. for Lawful Interception).
2.13 Services (IMS – Voice)
One of the important aspects of migration to 2.14 Outlook
5G is the support of voice and related
The document will be open for
services (e.g. SMS, conversational video). In
contributions/suggestions and will keep
what follows, however, the focus will be on
evolving to provide support for more
IMS based services for voice via 3GPP
deployment options and considerations.
based 5G access network. Non-IMS based
Currently, the following topics are planned for
voice is out of scope here. Note that the
further development.
reasoning for IMS based voice (“VoIMS”) can
apply for IMS based SMS (“SMSoIP”) and  Use cases beyond mobile broadband:
IMS based conversational video (“VioIMS”). IoT, URLLC
VoIMS refers here to the generic IMS based  Support for other deployment options (SA
voice solution; it includes the support of IMS Options 2/5, NSA Options 4/5/7)
based Emergency Services. VoIMS support
 Migration to other deployment options
over WLAN (“VoWiFi”) and its interworking
 IMS service support in other deployment
with VoIMS over 5G access is also out of
 VoIMS continuity under 4G and 5G
The initial configuration corresponds to the  Support of SMS
use of VoIMS over LTE / EPC (“VoLTE” per  Non-IMS based services
IR.92 [1]). It refers to the usage over legacy  4G/5G interworking
LTE system (EPS) - so called 3GPP  Further details on E-UTRAN upgrade to
architectural SA/LTE (“Option 1”) - which can support EN-DC: impact on E-UTRAN,
also be used by NSA/EN-DC (“Option 3”) enhanced dual connectivity, new QCI
(see Figure 20). values, etc.
2.13.1 Roaming with VoIMS  Regulatory requirement
Roaming support for VoIMS is is an important  Roaming in 5G networks
feature and is essentially based on IMS
Roaming in a 4G or 5G environment. The
Please contact futurenetworks@gsma.com if
principle of IMS and in particular VoIMS
you would like to contribute or suggest topic
roaming in a 4G environment has been
to be covered by this document.
defined in IR.65 [3].

5G Implementation Guidelines

Figure 20: Potential VoIMS variants according to SA / NSA

architectural options

NOTE: T and does not

preclude other or more appropriate naming proposed / agreed by GSMA

5G Implementation Guidelines

Annex A Document Management

A.1 Document History
Version Date Brief Description of Change Approval Editor /
Authority Company

0.1 16-Oct- CR001 incorporated 5GNSA Sandra

2018 Ondrusova /
CK Hutchison
0.2 27-Nov- CR002, CR003, CR004 5GNSA Sandra
2018 incorporated Ondrusova /
CK Hutchison
0.3 20-Dec-18 CR007 incorporated 5GNSA Sandra
Ondrusova /
CK Hutchison
0.4 4-Feb- CR009 incorporated 5GNSA Sandra
2019 Ondrusova /
CK Hutchison
0.5 19-Feb- CR010, CR012, CR013, CR014, 5GNSA Sandra
2019 CR015, CR016 incorporated Ondrusova /
Section 3.15 modified CK Hutchison
0.6 21-Feb- Figures updated, Section 3.15 5GNSA Sandra
2019 modified Ondrusova /
CK Hutchison
0.7 25-Feb- Editorial changes and revisions to 5GNSA Sandra
2019 section 3.2 Ondrusova /
CK Hutchison
1.0 05-Mar- Editorial changes and approval by 5GNSA Sandra
2019 5GNSA Group for publication Ondrusova /
CK Hutchison

A.2 Other Information

Type Description

Document Owner 5GNSA

Editor / Company Sandra Ondrusova / CK Hutchison
Reviewed & Approved by 5GNSA

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