Each year on World Standards Day, we celebrate the efforts of experts worldwide who have worked and collaborated to create standards that help society move forward in an inclusive, shared and fair way. In telecoms, standardization through 3GPP has enabled global connectivity, created millions of jobs and contributed a significant share of global GDP. Here’s how.
NORTHAMPTON, MA / ACCESSWIRE / December 7, 2022 / On October 14, members of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) celebrate World Standards Day, a way to celebrate the collaboration of thousands of experts who volunteer to develop technical Agreements published as international standards. In the telecom industry, standardization has been critical to facilitating global connectivity, supporting millions of jobs and generating a significant portion of global GDP.
In this blog post, we will detail why the world needs telecom standards: how the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) has contributed to the ongoing digital transformation and decarbonization of society that is now being accelerated by 5G, and why continued standardization is important to to maintain this momentum also in the future . We call this the mobile miracle.
1. The mobile wonder
It is no exaggeration to say that the mobile wonder has fundamentally changed the world we live in. According to 2019 figures, mobile technologies and services generated 4.7 percent of global GDP, or $4.1 trillion in economic value. The mobile ecosystem directly or indirectly supported 30 million jobs and contributed to $490 billion in general taxes.
The key to enabling these seismic impacts is standardization, which generates economies of scale, reduces costs, and makes mobile technologies and services affordable. Mobile is the fastest scaling technology of all time, and the transition to 5G is even faster than any previous transition, driving digital transformation and the decarbonization of economies.
2. 3GPP: how it works and what it does
3GPP – of which Ericsson is a member – is the leading standards organization that creates the specifications for end-to-end mobile networks. It defines a blueprint for an operator to build a network from the device, through the radio access network, the core network to applications and services.
More than 700 companies contribute to 3GPP, which has achieved global interoperability, roaming and economies of scale. With its frequent releases, new technologies that enable breakthrough services have become available at an unprecedented rate. Its scope has expanded from consumer communications services to enterprise and more recent use cases in areas such as public safety.
As the industry-leading innovation model, 3GPP defines a complete multi-vendor platform for an interoperable global ecosystem and creates a complete system-level design. Its open standards make it easier for new entrants to innovate, bring products to market, and compete successfully on both the network and device sides.
Without 3GPP, there would be no mobile internet, the primary means of access for most of the world’s population, which paved the way for the app economy. Global standards and economies of scale are key to ensure it stays that way, especially now that the far-reaching implications of 5G deployment continue. 5G is expected to bring an estimated $2.2 trillion in mobile broadband, Internet of Things (IoT) and industrial connectivity to the global economy between 2024 and 2034.
3. FRAND: promoting innovation and collaboration
A basic premise is that patents can prevent others from using the technology you invented. However, in the telecommunications industry, the commitment to the widespread adoption of standardized technology through licensing under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms means that the use of standardized technology is not blocked. FRAND licensing ensures that those who contribute to technology standards receive fair compensation and incentivizes continued reinvestment in future development.
This principle means that innovative companies are encouraged to share and compare ideas during the standardization process so that the best technology standard can be established. The FRAND licensing framework has encouraged competition, created consumer choice, provided clarity and helped drive down prices while improving quality and performance.
4. Looking ahead: The impact of 5G and its role in decarbonization
5G and its evolution to 6G will have revolutionary implications for the future. Central to enabling more use cases is the horizontal network platform architecture based on open industry standards and open source software created in 3GPP and related standardization bodies.
The open network platform will be built on the main 3GPP interfaces and supplemented with additional interfaces that are crucial for the full utilization of cloud and virtualization technologies. In the coming years, a digital infrastructure based on 3GPP will be fundamental for the rapid digitization of countries and prove that it is a truly open innovation platform. The platform is essential to society’s digital developments, a key contributor to reducing global carbon emissions – some estimate it can account for up to a third of the 50 percent reduction target set for 2030.
For more than two decades, 3GPP has built the fastest scaling global technology ecosystem ever, and the network adoption rate and number of new connections of 5G are unprecedented. The economic contribution of the mobile industry is set to grow nearly 20 percent to $4.9 trillion by 2024 – or 4.9 percent of the world’s DDP – and 3.5 billion 5G connections are projected by 2026.
Telecom standardization has been an integral part of this journey and must remain a fundamental principle to ensure the mobile miracle continues. The fruits of this collaborative spirit should be celebrated on World Standards Day and its benefits kept in mind as we look to the future, both for society and for our planet.
Learn how Ericsson is getting a fair return on its R&D investments through FRAND licensing terms.
Read more about Ericsson’s work in developing standards
 The mobile economy 2020
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