On December 2020, 3GPP have proposed new schedule for the completion of Release 17 work, based on the assumption that 3GPP will return to physical meetings for the second half of 2021.
The new commitment will greatly help firms advance their plans for network roll-out as well as new product development. The Release 17 schedule will now allow 3GPP the time it needs to complete the maintenance of Release 16 specifications as they become very stable. At the same time, it allows the groups to switch priority to the exciting Release 17 features.
Studies in several key areas are already in the pipeline. These include: coverage and positioning enhancements, NR and slicing QoE work, adding new frequency ranges, NR reduced capacity devices, enhanced support of non-public networks, supporting unmanned aerial systems, support for edge computing in 5GC, proximity-based services in 5GS, network automation for 5G (Phase 2) and for access traffic steering, switch and splitting (ATSSS), among others.
Release 17 features to look out for include new work and enhancements for: URLLC for industrial IoT over NR, NR support over non-terrestrial networks, MIMO, integrated access and backhaul (IAB), MBS positioning, NR multicast and broadcast services, RAN slicing for NR, NR sidelink, multi-RAT dual-connectivity, 5G NR Light, support for multi-SIM devices for LTE/NR, NR small data transmissions in inactive state and multimedia priority service.