LIVE FROM WWRF/techUK 5G HUDDLE: Hamadoun Toure (pictured), Secretary-General of the ITU – a UN agency championing ICT adoption and global standards – said it will play a key role in defining and standardising 5G and that “work was already well underway” to achieve that.

“ITU and the ICT industry have recognised the relationship between IMT and 5G,” said the ITU secretary-general, adding that IMT will continue to involve a wider range of stakeholders to finalise requirements for 5G in much the same way as it has for 4G and 3G.

His comments were made via video link to a London conference – the ‘5G Huddle’ – organised by the Wireless World Research Forum (WWRF), a global wireless research community, and techUK (a lobby group for UK tech companies).

IMT, or International Mobile Telecommunications, are requirements issued by the ITU-R working group. IMT has been in operation for nearly three decades.

“Detailed investigation of the key elements of 5G is already underway, once again galvanising the highly successful partnership that ITU has forged with the mobile industry and a wide array of stakeholders in the mobile community,” added Toure. “The contribution of WWRF to on-going IMT development has also been very valuable in the past and we look forward to continuing this fruitful collaboration.”

Toure said the mobile broadband boom and M2M growth called for a technology approach that addresses the full gamut of apps and devices that are beginning to emerge. Some 5G criteria, he said, include very high system capacity, extremely high data rates, greater spectrum efficiency, low energy consumption and high security. Self-awareness and self-adaptability, to accommodate different environments and changing demand, were also 5G features that he expected to emerge.

ITU-R works with the likes of national regulators, network operators and academia on IMT. Toure expects the same type of open and transparent collaboration to continue on 5G in order to “establish criteria for IMT 2020 and beyond”. He expects a framework and overall objectives for future IMT development to be finalised in 2015.

For some, however, the same old ways of working on standards is not appropriate for 5G. Theodore Sizer, VP of wireless research at Bell Labs – Alcatel-Lucent’s R&D arm – told Mobile World Live that 5G, because it will be so pervasive, will require a much more inclusive standardisation process than for previous generations of technology.

If apps and content are to work well on 5G, maintained the Bell Labs man, then app and content providers would need to work “hand in glove” with people who are providing the networks and terminals.