3GPP

3GPP

Overview
The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is a collaboration between groups of telecommunications associations, known as the Organizational Partners. The initial scope of 3GPP was to make a globally applicable third-generation (3G
3G
3G or 3rd generation mobile telecommunications is a generation of standards for mobile phones and mobile telecommunication services fulfilling the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 specifications by the International Telecommunication Union...

) mobile phone
Mobile phone
A mobile phone is a device which can make and receive telephone calls over a radio link whilst moving around a wide geographic area. It does so by connecting to a cellular network provided by a mobile network operator...

 system specification based on evolved Global System for Mobile Communications
Global System for Mobile Communications
GSM , is a standard set developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute to describe technologies for second generation digital cellular networks...

 (GSM) specifications within the scope of the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 project of the International Telecommunication Union
International Telecommunication Union
The International Telecommunication Union is the specialized agency of the United Nations which is responsible for information and communication technologies...

 (ITU).
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Encyclopedia
The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is a collaboration between groups of telecommunications associations, known as the Organizational Partners. The initial scope of 3GPP was to make a globally applicable third-generation (3G
3G
3G or 3rd generation mobile telecommunications is a generation of standards for mobile phones and mobile telecommunication services fulfilling the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 specifications by the International Telecommunication Union...

) mobile phone
Mobile phone
A mobile phone is a device which can make and receive telephone calls over a radio link whilst moving around a wide geographic area. It does so by connecting to a cellular network provided by a mobile network operator...

 system specification based on evolved Global System for Mobile Communications
Global System for Mobile Communications
GSM , is a standard set developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute to describe technologies for second generation digital cellular networks...

 (GSM) specifications within the scope of the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 project of the International Telecommunication Union
International Telecommunication Union
The International Telecommunication Union is the specialized agency of the United Nations which is responsible for information and communication technologies...

 (ITU). The scope was later enlarged to include the development and maintenance of:
  • the Global System for Mobile Communications
    Global System for Mobile Communications
    GSM , is a standard set developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute to describe technologies for second generation digital cellular networks...

     (GSM) including GSM evolved radio access technologies (e.g. General Packet Radio Service
    General Packet Radio Service
    General packet radio service is a packet oriented mobile data service on the 2G and 3G cellular communication system's global system for mobile communications . GPRS was originally standardized by European Telecommunications Standards Institute in response to the earlier CDPD and i-mode...

     (GPRS) and Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution
    Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution
    Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution is a digital mobile phone technology that allows improved data transmission rates as a backward-compatible extension of GSM...

     (EDGE))
  • an evolved third Generation and beyond Mobile System based on the evolved 3GPP core networks, and the radio access technologies supported by the Partners (i.e., UTRA both FDD and TDD modes).
  • an evolved IP Multimedia Subsystem
    IP Multimedia Subsystem
    The IP Multimedia Subsystem or IP Multimedia Core Network Subsystem is an architectural framework for delivering Internet Protocol multimedia services. It was originally designed by the wireless standards body 3rd Generation Partnership Project , as a part of the vision for evolving mobile...

     (IMS) developed in an access independent manner

3GPP standardization encompasses Radio, Core Network and Service architecture.

The Organizational Partners are the European Telecommunications Standards Institute
European Telecommunications Standards Institute
The European Telecommunications Standards Institute is an independent, non-profit, standardization organization in the telecommunications industry in Europe, with worldwide projection...

, Association of Radio Industries and Businesses
Association of Radio Industries and Businesses
The Association of Radio Industries and Businesses, commonly known as ARIB , is a standardization organization in Japan. ARIB is designated as the center of promotion of the efficient use of the radio spectrum and designated frequency change support agency...

/Telecommunication Technology Committee
Telecommunication Technology Committee
The Telecommunication Technology Committee was established in 1985. This standardization organization is authorized by Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications to conduct research and to develop and promote standards for telecommunications in Japan.The TTC is a founding partner...

 (ARIB/TTC) (Japan), China Communications Standards Association, Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions
Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions
The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions is a standards organization that develops technical and operational standards for the telecommunication industry. ATIS is headquartered in Washington, D.C....

 (North America) and Telecommunications Technology Association (South Korea). The project was established in December 1998.

3GPP should not be confused with 3rd Generation Partnership Project 2
3rd Generation Partnership Project 2
The 3rd Generation Partnership Project 2 is a collaboration between telecommunications associations to make a globally applicable third generation mobile phone system specification within the scope of the ITU's IMT-2000 project...

 (3GPP2), which specifies standards for another 3G technology based on IS-95
IS-95
Interim Standard 95 is the first CDMA-based digital cellular standard by Qualcomm. The brand name for IS-95 is cdmaOne. IS-95 is also known as TIA-EIA-95....

 (CDMA), commonly known as CDMA2000
CDMA2000
CDMA2000 is a family of 3G mobile technology standards, which use CDMA channel access, to send voice, data, and signaling data between mobile phones and cell sites. The set of standards includes: CDMA2000 1X, CDMA2000 EV-DO Rev. 0, CDMA2000 EV-DO Rev. A, and CDMA2000 EV-DO Rev. B...

.

The 3GPP support team (also known as the "Mobile Competence Centre") is located at the ETSI headquarters in Sophia-Antipolis (France).

Standards


3GPP standards are structured as Releases. Discussion of 3GPP thus frequently refers to
the functionality in one release or another.
Version Released Info
Phase 1 1992 GSM Features
Phase 2 1995 GSM Features, EFR Codec,
Release 96 1997 Q1 GSM Features, 14.4 kbit/s User Data Rate,
Release 97 1998 Q1 GSM Features, GPRS
Release 98 1999 Q1 GSM Features, AMR, EDGE, GPRS for PCS1900
Release 99 2000 Q1 Specified the first UMTS 3G networks, incorporating a CDMA
Code division multiple access
Code division multiple access is a channel access method used by various radio communication technologies. It should not be confused with the mobile phone standards called cdmaOne, CDMA2000 and WCDMA , which are often referred to as simply CDMA, and use CDMA as an underlying channel access...

 air interface
Release 4 2001 Q2 Originally called the Release 2000 - added features including an all-IP Core Network
Release 5 2002 Q1 Introduced IMS
IP Multimedia Subsystem
The IP Multimedia Subsystem or IP Multimedia Core Network Subsystem is an architectural framework for delivering Internet Protocol multimedia services. It was originally designed by the wireless standards body 3rd Generation Partnership Project , as a part of the vision for evolving mobile...

 and HSDPA
High-Speed Downlink Packet Access
High-Speed Downlink Packet Access is an enhanced 3G mobile telephony communications protocol in the High-Speed Packet Access family, also dubbed 3.5G, 3G+ or turbo 3G, which allows networks based on Universal Mobile Telecommunications System to have higher data transfer speeds and capacity...

Release 6 2004 Q4 Integrated operation with Wireless LAN
Wireless LAN
A wireless local area network links two or more devices using some wireless distribution method , and usually providing a connection through an access point to the wider internet. This gives users the mobility to move around within a local coverage area and still be connected to the network...

 networks and adds HSUPA
High-Speed Uplink Packet Access
High-Speed Uplink Packet Access is a 3G mobile telephony protocol in the HSPA family with up-link speeds up to 5.76 Mbit/s. The name HSUPA was created by Nokia...

, MBMS
Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service
Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services is a point-to-multipoint interface specification for existing and upcoming 3GPP cellular networks, which is designed to provide efficient delivery of broadcast and multicast services, both within a cell as well as within the core network...

, enhancements to IMS
IP Multimedia Subsystem
The IP Multimedia Subsystem or IP Multimedia Core Network Subsystem is an architectural framework for delivering Internet Protocol multimedia services. It was originally designed by the wireless standards body 3rd Generation Partnership Project , as a part of the vision for evolving mobile...

 such as Push to Talk over Cellular (PoC), GAN
Generic Access Network
Generic Access Network or GAN is a telecommunication system that extends mobile voice, data and IP Multimedia Subsystem/Session Initiation Protocol applications over IP networks...

Release 7 2007 Q4 Focuses on decreasing latency, improvements to QoS
Quality of service
The quality of service refers to several related aspects of telephony and computer networks that allow the transport of traffic with special requirements...

 and real-time applications such as VoIP
Voice over IP
Voice over Internet Protocol is a family of technologies, methodologies, communication protocols, and transmission techniques for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol networks, such as the Internet...

. This specification also focus on HSPA+ (High Speed Packet Access Evolution), SIM
Subscriber Identity Module
A subscriber identity module or subscriber identification module is an integrated circuit that securely stores the International Mobile Subscriber Identity and the related key used to identify and authenticate subscriber on mobile telephony devices .A SIM is held on a removable SIM card, which...

 high-speed protocol and contactless front-end interface (Near Field Communication
Near Field Communication
Near field communication, or NFC, allows for simplified transactions, data exchange, and wireless connections between two devices in proximity to each other, usually by no more than a few centimeters. It is expected to become a widely used system for making payments by smartphone in the United States...

 enabling operators to deliver contactless services like Mobile Payment
Mobile Payment
Mobile financial services, also referred to as mobile money, mobile payment, mobile banking, mobile money transfer and mobile wallet generally refer to payment services operated under financial regulation and performed from or via a mobile device....

s), EDGE Evolution.
Release 8 2008 Q4 First LTE
3GPP Long Term Evolution
3GPP Long Term Evolution, usually referred to as LTE, is a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals. It is based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies, increasing the capacity and speed using new modulation techniques...

release. All-IP Network (SAE). New OFDMA
OFDMA
Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access is a multi-user version of the popular Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing digital modulation scheme. Multiple access is achieved in OFDMA by assigning subsets of subcarriers to individual users as shown in the illustration below...

, FDE and MIMO
MIMO
In radio, multiple-input and multiple-output, or MIMO , is the use of multiple antennas at both the transmitter and receiver to improve communication performance. It is one of several forms of smart antenna technology...

 based radio interface, not backwards compatible with previous CDMA interfaces. Dual-Cell HSDPA.
Release 9 2009 Q4 SAES Enhancements, WiMAX
WiMAX
WiMAX is a communication technology for wirelessly delivering high-speed Internet service to large geographical areas. The 2005 WiMAX revision provided bit rates up to 40 Mbit/s with the 2011 update up to 1 Gbit/s for fixed stations...

 and LTE/UMTS Interoperability. Dual-Cell HSDPA
Dual-Cell HSDPA
Dual-Cell HSDPA is a wireless broadband standard based on HSPA that is defined in 3GPP UMTS release 8....

 with MIMO
MIMO
In radio, multiple-input and multiple-output, or MIMO , is the use of multiple antennas at both the transmitter and receiver to improve communication performance. It is one of several forms of smart antenna technology...

, Dual-Cell HSUPA.
Release 10 2011 Q1 LTE Advanced
LTE Advanced
LTE Advanced is a preliminary mobile communication standard, formally submitted as a candidate 4G system to ITU-T in late 2009, was approved into ITU, International Telecommunications Union, IMT-Advanced and expected to be finalized by 3GPP in early 2011...

fulfilling IMT Advanced
IMT Advanced
International Mobile Telecommunications-Advanced are requirements issued by the ITU-R of the International Telecommunication Union in 2008 for what is marketed as 4G mobile phone and Internet access service.-Description:...

 4G
4G
In telecommunications, 4G is the fourth generation of cellular wireless standards. It is a successor to the 3G and 2G families of standards. In 2009, the ITU-R organization specified the IMT-Advanced requirements for 4G standards, setting peak speed requirements for 4G service at 100 Mbit/s...

 requirements. Backwards compatible with release 8 (LTE). Multi-Cell HSDPA (4 carriers).
Release 11 Planned to 2012 Q3 Advanced IP Interconnection
Interconnection
In telecommunications, interconnection is the physical linking of a carrier's network with equipment or facilities not belonging to that network...

 of Services. Service layer
Service layer
In intelligent networks and cellular networks, service layer is a conceptual layer within a network service provider architecture. It aims at providing middleware that serves third-party value-added services and applications at a higher application layer...

 interconnection between national operators/carriers as well as third party application providers. Content still open (as of April 2011).


Each release incorporates hundreds of individual standards documents, each of which may have been through many revisions. Current 3GPP standards incorporate the latest revision of the GSM standards.

The documents are available freely on 3GPP's Web site. While 3GPP standards can be bewildering to the newcomer, they are remarkably complete and detailed, and provide insight into how the cellular industry works. They cover not only the radio part ("Air Interface") and Core Network, but also billing information and speech coding down to source code level. Cryptographic
Cryptography
Cryptography is the practice and study of techniques for secure communication in the presence of third parties...

 aspects (authentication
Authentication
Authentication is the act of confirming the truth of an attribute of a datum or entity...

, confidentiality
Confidentiality
Confidentiality is an ethical principle associated with several professions . In ethics, and in law and alternative forms of legal resolution such as mediation, some types of communication between a person and one of these professionals are "privileged" and may not be discussed or divulged to...

) are also specified in detail. 3GPP2
3rd Generation Partnership Project 2
The 3rd Generation Partnership Project 2 is a collaboration between telecommunications associations to make a globally applicable third generation mobile phone system specification within the scope of the ITU's IMT-2000 project...

 offers similar information about its system.

Specification groups


The 3GPP specification work is done in Technical Specification Groups (TSGs) and Working Groups (WGs).

There are four Technical Specifications Groups:
  • GERAN (GSM/EDGE Radio Access Network): GERAN specifies the GSM radio technology, including GPRS and EDGE. It is composed of three working groups.
  • RAN (Radio Access Network): RAN specifies the UTRAN
    Utran
    Utran is a census town in Surat district in the Indian state of Gujarat.-Geography:Utran is located at . It has an average elevation of 12 metres .-Demographics:...

     and the E-UTRAN. It is composed of five working groups.
  • SA (Service and System Aspects): SA specifies the service requirements and the overall architecture of the 3GPP system. It is also responsible for the coordination of the project. SA is composed of five working groups.
  • CT (Core Network and Terminals): CT specifies the core network and terminal parts of 3GPP. It includes the core network - terminal layer 3 protocols. It is composed of four working groups.


The 3GPP structure also includes a Project Coordination Group, which is the highest decision-making body. Its missions include the management of overall timeframe and work progress.

Standardization process


3GPP standardization work is contribution-driven. Companies ("individual members") participate through their membership to a 3GPP Organizational Partner. As of April 2011, 3GPP is composed of more than 370 individual members.

Specification work is done at WG and at TSG level:
  • the 3GPP WGs hold several meetings a year. They prepare and discuss change requests against 3GPP specifications. A change request accepted at WG level is called "agreed".
  • the 3GPP TSGs hold plenary meetings quarterly. The TSGs can "approve" the change requests that were agreed at WG level. Some specifications are under the direct responsibility of TSGs and therefore, change requests can also be handled at TSG level. The approved change requests are subsequently incorporated in 3GPP specifications.


3GPP follows a three-stage methodology as defined in ITU-T
ITU-T
The ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector is one of the three sectors of the International Telecommunication Union ; it coordinates standards for telecommunications....

 Recommendation I.130:
  • stage 1 specifications define the service requirements from the user point of view.
  • stage 2 specifications define an architecture to support the service requirements.
  • stage 3 specifications define an implementation of the architecture by specifying protocols in details.

Test specifications are sometimes defined as stage 4, as they follow stage 3.

Specifications are grouped into releases. A release consists of a set of internally consistent set of features and specifications.

Timeframes are defined for each release by specifying freezing dates. Once a release is frozen, only essential corrections are allowed (i.e. addition and modifications of functions are forbidden). Freezing dates are defined for each stage.

The 3GPP specifications are transposed into deliverables by the Organizational Partners.

Deployment


3GPP systems are deployed across much of the established GSM market. They are primarily Release 6 systems, but as of 2010, growing interest in HSPA+ and LTE
3GPP Long Term Evolution
3GPP Long Term Evolution, usually referred to as LTE, is a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals. It is based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies, increasing the capacity and speed using new modulation techniques...

 is driving adoption of Release 7 and its successors. Since 2005, 3GPP systems were seeing deployment in the same markets as 3GPP2 systems (for example, North America). With LTE the official successor to 3GPP2's CDMA systems, 3GPP-based systems will eventually become the single global mobile standard.

See also

  • Universal Mobile Telecommunications System
    Universal Mobile Telecommunications System
    Universal Mobile Telecommunications System is a third generation mobile cellular technology for networks based on the GSM standard. Developed by the 3GPP , UMTS is a component of the International Telecommunications Union IMT-2000 standard set and compares with the CDMA2000 standard set for...

     (UMTS)
  • 3GPP Long Term Evolution
    3GPP Long Term Evolution
    3GPP Long Term Evolution, usually referred to as LTE, is a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals. It is based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies, increasing the capacity and speed using new modulation techniques...

  • Evolution to 3G
  • IP Multimedia Subsystem
    IP Multimedia Subsystem
    The IP Multimedia Subsystem or IP Multimedia Core Network Subsystem is an architectural framework for delivering Internet Protocol multimedia services. It was originally designed by the wireless standards body 3rd Generation Partnership Project , as a part of the vision for evolving mobile...

  • 3GP
    3GP
    3GP is a multimedia container format defined by the Third Generation Partnership Project for 3G UMTS multimedia services. It is used on 3G mobile phones but can also be played on some 2G and 4G phones....

  • 3GPP2 - The 3GPP's counterpart in the CDMA2000
    CDMA2000
    CDMA2000 is a family of 3G mobile technology standards, which use CDMA channel access, to send voice, data, and signaling data between mobile phones and cell sites. The set of standards includes: CDMA2000 1X, CDMA2000 EV-DO Rev. 0, CDMA2000 EV-DO Rev. A, and CDMA2000 EV-DO Rev. B...

     sphere.
  • GSM services
    GSM services
    GSM services are a standard collection of applications and features available to mobile phone subscribers all over the world. The GSM standards are defined by the 3GPP collaboration and implemented in hardware and software by equipment manufacturers and mobile phone operators...

  • Telecoms & Internet converged Services & Protocols for Advanced Networks (TISPAN)
  • Open Mobile Alliance
    Open Mobile Alliance
    The Open Mobile Alliance is a standards body which develops open standards for the mobile phone industry.- Principles :Mission: To provide interoperable service enablers working across countries, operators and mobile terminals....

  • Service layer
    Service layer
    In intelligent networks and cellular networks, service layer is a conceptual layer within a network service provider architecture. It aims at providing middleware that serves third-party value-added services and applications at a higher application layer...

  • European Telecommunications Standards Institute
  • Open Source GSM stack
    OpenBTS
    OpenBTS is a software-based GSM access point, allowing standard GSM-compatible mobile phones to make telephone calls without using existing telecommunication providers' networks...


External links