<h2><strong>3GPP TSGs and elections</strong></h2><p>3GPP has three TSGs, responsible for the radio access network, core network, services and system aspects, and are aptly named TSG-RAN, TSG-CN, and TSG-SA. Among these, TSG-RAN is probably the biggest in terms of size, scope, and a number of activities. It is managed by one chair and three vice-chairs. The chair ballot was last week (started from March 16th, 2021) and the vice-chair ballot is happening as this article is being published.</p><p>The primary objective of the RAN chair is to ensure all the members are working collaboratively to develop next-generation standards through the 3GPP’s marquee consensus-based, impartial approach. The chair position has a lot of clout and prestige associated with it. The chairmanship truly represents the collective confidence of the entire 3GPP community in the position, providing vision and leadership to the entire industry. The RAN TSG chair leadership is especially crucial now when the industry is at a critical juncture of taking 5G beyond the conventional cellular broadband to many new industries and markets. </p><p>For the candidates, the 3GPP election is a long-drawn process, starting more than a year before the actual ballot. The credibility, and the competence of the individual candidates, as well as the companies they represent, are put to test. Although delegates vote as individuals in a secret ballot, the competitive positioning between the member companies, and sometimes the regional dynamics may play an important role.</p><p>During the actual election, the winner is decided if any candidate gets more than 71% of the votes, either in the first or the second round. If not, a third run-off round ensues, and whoever gets a simple majority there wins the race. This time, there were four candidates in the fray – Wanshi Chen of Qualcomm, Mathew Baker of Nokia, Richard Burbidge of Intel, and Xu Xiaodong of China Mobile. The election did go to the third run-off round, where Wanshi Chen won against Mathew Baker by a comfortable margin. </p><h2><strong>New chair’s vision for the next phase of 5G</strong></h2><p>Dr. Wanshi Chen is a prolific inventor, a researcher, and a seasoned standards leader. He has been part of 3GPP for the last 13 years. He is currently the Chair of the RAN-1 Working Group and was also a vice-chair of the same group before that. RAN-1 is one of the largest working groups within 3GPP, with up to 600 delegates. Wanshi has successfully presided over the group during its critical times. For example, he took over the RAN-1 chairmanship right after the 5G standardization acceleration, and was instrumental in finalizing 3GPP Rel. 15 in record time. Following that he also played a key role in finishing Rel. 16 on time as planned, despite the enormous workload and the unprecedented disruptions caused by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. </p><p>The change in RAN TSG guard is happening at a crucial time for 5G when it is set to transform the many verticals and industries beyond smartphones. 3GPP has already set a solid foundation with Rel.16, Rel. 17 development is in full swing, and Rel. 18 is being conceptualized. The next chair will have the unique opportunity to shape the next phase of 5G. Wanshi said “Industry always looks to 3GPP for leadership in exploring the new frontiers, providing the vision, and developing technologies and specifications to pave the way for the future. It is critical for 3GPP to maintain a fine <em>balance </em>between the traditional and newer vertical domains and evolve as a unified global standard by considering inputs from all regions of the world.” </p><p>Entering new markets and new domains is always fraught with challenges and uncertainties. However, “Such transitions are not new to 3GPP,” says Wanshi, “We worked across the aisle and revolutionized mobile broadband with 4G, and standardized 5G in a record time. I am excited to be leading the charge and extremely confident of our ability to band together as an industry and proliferate 5G everywhere.”</p><p>It is indeed interesting to note that Qualcomm was also at the helm of RAN TSG when 5G was accelerated. Lorenzo Casaccia, Qualcomm’s VP of Technical Standards, and another veteran of 3GPP said “The primary task of the chair is to foster consensus among all member companies, and facilitating the continued expansion of 5G, and potentially formulating initial plans toward the industry’s 6G vision,” he added, “having known Wanshi for years, I am extremely confident of his abilities to lead 3GPP toward that vision.” </p><p>The tenure of the chair is two years, but usually, people serve two consecutive terms, totaling four years. That means Wanshi will have a minimum of two years and a maximum of four years to show his magic, which started in Jun 2021. I wish all the best to him in his new position. I will be closely watching him as well as 3GPP as 5G moves into its next phase. </p><p>Article link: <a class="app-aware-link" href="http://bit.ly/TA-Insights" target="_blank" rel="noopener">http://bit.ly/TA-Insights</a> </p>
KR Expert - Prakash Sangam
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