Last Updated: 27/12/2004

What is 3GPP and how is it related to 3G Wireless?

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is a collaboration agreement that was established in December 1998. The collaboration agreement brings together a number of telecommunications standards bodies which are known as “Organizational Partners”. The current Organizational Partners are ARIB, CCSA, ETSI, ATIS, TTA, and TTC. Their website is http://www.3gpp.org. 3GPP is in charge of standardising WCDMA technology that is the most popular 3G Wireless standard.

What are these 3GPP Releases?

Since all the features required cannot be completed simultaneously in one go, it was decided that the 3G mobile will consist of some basic features. After that new functionalities will be added in groups and released. The groups of this new set of functionalities are called releases. Each new Release supports the Old Release plus new set of features. It might also happen that some of the existing functinality was incorrect, it would then be corrected in the new release.

How many 3GPP releases are there?

The following are 3GPP releases:

  • RELEASE 99: Functionality frozen in December 99. All 3G mobiles are required to be release 99 compatible or above. Basis of all the existing 3G networks and mobiles available right now. All of Hutchison's networks worldwide are Release 99 compatible.
  • RELEASE 4: Functionality Frozen in March 99. All new mobiles being designed are based on Release 4.
  • RELEASE 5: Functionality Frozen in June 2002.
  • RELEASE 6: Functionality to be Frozen by June 2004.
  • RELEASE 7: Not much information available on this one.

What did Release 99 contain?

Release 99 contained all the basic 3GPP features. This contains a long list that would be incomplete without explanation. Please see the following document for complete Release 99 related information. http://www.3gpp.org/Releases/Rel99-Features-Draft.pdf.

What is Release 2000?

Release 2000 or Release 00 was supposed to be ready by the year 2000 but the things got delayed so much that they decided to scrap it and replace it by Release 4 and Release 5.

What are Release 4 features?

The following are the features of Release 4:

  • Evolutions of the Transport in the UTRAN
    • QoS optimisation for AAL2 connections over Iub and Iur interfaces.
    • Transport bearer modification procedure on Iub, Iur, and Iu (note: this was previously known as “Migration to modification procedures”).
  • Evolutions of the transport in CN
    • IP transport of CN protocol.
    • FS on transport and control separation in PS domain (this FS will not lead to any feature).
  • Improvements of Radio Interface - Rel-4 part
    • UTRA repeater specification
    • DSCH power control improvement in SHO.
  • Low chip rate TDD option
  • RAB Quality of Service Negotiation over Iu during relocation
  • RAN improvements
    • RRM optimization for Iur and Iub
    • Node B synchronisation for TDD
    • RAB support enhancement
  • Transparent End-to-End PS Mobile Streaming Applications
  • Emergency call enhancements – Rel-4 part: for CS based calls
  • Enable bearer independent CS architecture
  • Real time Facsimile
  • MExE Enhancements (the main enhancements are Third MExE classmark for a new smallfootprint Java platform, support of SDR concepts by software download and Security enhancements)
  • Tandem Free Operation
  • Transcoder Free Operation
  • ODB (Operator Determined Barring) for Packet Oriented Services
  • Multimedia Messaging Service
  • UICC/(U)SIM enhancements and interworking
  • (U)SIM toolkit enhancements
    • USAT local link
    • UICC API testing
    • Protocol Standardisation of a SIM Toolkit Interpreter
  • Advanced Speech Call Items enhancements
  • Reliable QoS for PS domain
More information is available in the following document: http://www.3gpp.org/ftp/tsg_sa/TSG_SA/TSGS_14/Docs/PDF/SP-010724.pdf

What are Release 5 Features?

The Main Features of Release 5 are:

  • IMS or IP Based Multimedia Services
  • HSDPA or High Speed Downlink Packet Access
  • Location Services for PS/GPRS
  • IPv6 support
  • Wideband AMR (new 16 kHz codec)
  • End-to-end QoS in the PS domain and GLobal Text Telephony
  • Messaging and Security Enhancements
  • CAMEL Phase 4; new functions such as mid call procedures, interaction with optimnal routing, etc.
  • Load sharing UTRAN (Radio Network for WCDMA)/GERAN (Radio Network for GSM/EDGE).
  • WCDMA in 1800/1900 MHaz frequency spectrums
  • Mobile Execution Environment (MExE) support for Java and WAP applications.

Release 5 does not look like having lot of features.

Release 5 has many more features than the ones that are listed above. A detailed list of features and their explanations are available at http://www.3gpp.org/Releases/Rel5_features_v_2003_09_09.htm. Also look at http://www.3gamericas.org/pdfs/umtsrel5_beyond_june2004.pdf.

WHat are Release 6 Features?

The following are main Release 6 Features:

  • Multicast/Broadcast Multimedia services (MBMS)
  • IMS enhancements for support of conversational services
  • WCDMA/WLAN interworking
  • Speech Recognition
  • Network Sharing
  • Digital Rights Management
  • UE Functionality Split
  • Common Radio Resource Management (UTRAN/GERAN)
  • Radio Optimisation
  • MMS Enhancements
  • Packet Switched Streaming Services

Another significant feature targeted for Rel’6 is the Enhanced Uplink for Dedicated CHannels (EUDCH) feature. As the importance of IP-based services increases, demand to improve the coverage and throughput as well as reduce the delay of the uplink also increases. Applications that could benefit from an enhanced uplink may include services like video clips, multimedia, e-mail, telematics, gaming, videostreaming etc. The EUDCH feature investigates enhancements that can be applied to UMTS in order to improve the performance on the uplink dedicated transport channels. To enhance uplink performance, features similar to those introduced for HSDPA in the downlink are being considered including:

  • Adaptive modulation and coding schemes
  • Hybrid ARQ protocols
  • Node B controlled scheduling
  • Physical layer or higher layer signalling mechanisms to support the enhancements
  • Shorter frame size (TTI) and improved QoS

What are Release 7 features?

Increasing spectral efficiency of the radio interface is of paramount importance in order to make the most out of the limited suitable spectrum and the operators’ investment in site resources. Multiple-Input multiple-output (MIMO) antenna systems, motivated by an information theoretic consideration, promise a considerable increase in spectral efficiencies. Therefore, support for MIMO systems is one key element considered for evolution of the UMTS radio interface. A large effort is expected to go into the maintenance and enhancement of the considerable new capabilities which have been introduced in the previous two releases. For example, IMS will further be enhanced, e.g. by explicit support for wireline access allowing fixed-mobile convergence. In addition the integration of alternative radio technologies such as WLAN will be considered, e.g. by allowing handover and closer integration with legacy voice services.

I want to know how to find CR's for a particular 3GPP document?

Please goto http://www.3gpp.org/ftp/Specs/html-info. Scroll to the spec number of interest appended with –CRs.htm and there you will find the original CRs referenced by CR number. E.g, for 25.331 http://www.3gpp.org/ftp/Specs/html-info/25331-CRs.htm.

I have more questions about 3GPP, whom should i ask?

You can look at 3GPP's site for any unanswered questions. The website address is http://www.3gpp.org/faq/faq.htm .


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