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Who Are the Leading Players in 5G Standardization? An Assessment for 3GPP 5G Activities

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Report Summary:

3GPP is a standards organization that develops protocols for mobile communication system, including 3G WCDMA, 4G LTE and now 5G NR systems. Since late 2016 and early 2017, 3GPP has been developing the technical specifications for 5G system Releases 15 and 16. Currently the Release 16 work is being finalized and the Release 17 work has been kicked off. 3GPP not only does work for radio access technologies but also produces technical specifications for service and system aspect and core networks.

5G has been recognized as an important infrastructure for today’s connected society. More and more attention is being paid to 5G innovation and the Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) that have in the past been seen as a key indicator of the 5G leadership. But it is hard to evaluate the quality of patents, particularly at the early phase of 5G commercialization. An alternative approach may be going back to the origin of SEPs to get an idea of different companies’ positions in the 5G IPR competition by analyzing how much industry players have contributed to 5G standard. Standardization contribution is also an indicator for a company’s influence in global mobile ecosystem.

This report assesses 13 leading companies’ contributions to 3GPP 5G standards for the period of Releases 15 and 16 so far. By diving into 3GPP organizations and work procedures, we can assess the following aspects:

  • Volume of 5G related papers, including submitted papers, approved/agreed papers and the ratio of approved/agreed to submissions in all Technical Specification Groups (TSGs) and Working Groups (WGs)
  • Chairmanship positions, i.e. Chairman and Vice Chairmen in all TSGs and WGs
  • Rapporteurs of 5G related Work Items (WIs) / Study Items (SIs) in all TSGs and WGs

The benchmarking results described in detail in this report indicate that Huawei is the clear leader in contributions to the complete end-to-end 5G standard. Other leading companies include Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm, China Mobile, etc.

3GPP standardization is a dynamic process. It is expected, in Release17, emerging players and new market demands will impact the 3GPP standardization landscape and the positions of leading players in the activity.

Table of Contents

Measurement Approach Taken by Existing Studies  8

Importance of measurements that reflect the 3GPP process  8

Additional Measurement to reflect the Process  10

Final Measures Used  10

4.1     Companies to be Studied  11

4.2     5G Contribution Papers  12

Submitted Papers  12

Approved/Agreed Papers  12

Approved/Agreed Ratio  13

4.3     Chairmanship 13

4.4     Rapporteurs of WIs/SIs related to 5G   14

4.5     Benchmarking  14

Top 5 Companies Average Normalized Scores  15

How Can We Help You?  17


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