Next Generation Mobile Networks
The Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance is a mobile telecommunications association of mobile operators, vendors, manufacturers and research institutes. It was founded by major mobile operators in 2006 as an open forum to evaluate candidate technologies to develop a common view of solutions for the next evolution of wireless networks. Its objective is to ensure the successful commercial launch of future mobile broadband networks through a roadmap for technology and friendly user trials. Its office is in Frankfurt, Germany.
The NGMN Alliance complements and supports standards organizations by providing a coherent view of what mobile operators require. The alliance's project results have been acknowledged by groups such as the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), TeleManagement Forum (TM Forum) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
The Initial phase of the NGMN Alliance involved working groups on technology, spectrum, intellectual property rights (IPR), ecosystem, and trials, to enable the launch of commercial next generation mobile services in 2010. In a white paper first released in March 2006, NGMN summarized a vision for mobile broadband communications and included recommendations as well as requirements. It provided operators´ relative priorities of key system characteristics, system recommendations and detailed requirements for the standards for the next generation of mobile broadband networks, devices and services.
From July 2007 to February 2008, standards and technologies were evaluated for next generation mobile networks. These were 3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE) and its System Architecture Evolution (SAE), IEEE 802.16e (products known as WiMax), 802.20, and Ultra Mobile Broadband.
In June 2008, the NGMN Alliance announced that, “based on a thorough technology evaluation, the NGMN board concluded that LTE/SAE is the first technology which broadly meets its requirements as defined in the NGMN white paper. The NGMN Alliance therefore approves LTE/SAE as its first compliant technology”. Also in June 2008 the alliance announced it would work with the Femto Forum to ensure femtocells benefit from the technology.
The alliance worked on intellectual property rights "to adapt the existing IPR regime to provide a better predictability of the IPR licenses (...) to ensure Fair, Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) IPR costs". As part of this work, it issued a public request for information on LTE patent pool administration.
The alliance provided input to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) on frequency allocation, since they considered a timely and globally aligned spectrum allocation policy a key to the development of a viable ecosystem on a national, regional and global scale. The ITU and regional bodies are developing channeling arrangements for the frequency bands identified at the ITU World Radio Conference in 2007. In October 2009, the NGMN spectrum working group released “Next Generation Mobile Networks Spectrum Requirements Update”, containing the status and NGMN views and requirements on frequency bands identified at the ITU WRC-07.
Since next generation devices, networks and services need to be synchronized for a successful launch, NGMN in February 2009 released a white paper which provided generic definitions for next generation (data only) devices to ensure that devices were available at the time when first networks were launched in 2010.
After the launch of the first LTE networks in 2010, the alliance then addressed challenges of network deployment, operations, and interworking, while focusing on LTE and its evolved packet core, as defined by the System Architecture Evolution.
In September 2010, NGMN published recommendations on operational aspects of next generation networks. Rising complexity and increasing cost of network operations due to heterogeneity of networks (supporting different technologies), number of network elements, the market need to gain flexibility in service management and to improve service quality drive the need to improve the overall network operations. The document outlines requirements for self-organizing network functionalities and operations and maintenance (O&M) to address these issues.
The NGMN Alliance is organized as an association of about 60 partners from the mobile telecommunications industry and research. About one third are mobile operators, representing well over one half of the total mobile subscriber base world-wide. The remainder comprises vendors and manufacturers accounting for more than 90% of the global footprint of mobile network development as well as universities or non-industrial research institutes.
The NGNM Alliance co-operates with standards bodies and industry organisations like 3GPP, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, the GSM Association, and the TM Forum. In July 2010, the alliance and the TM Forum agreed to work together on optimized management systems and operations of the next generation of mobile networks. In May 2011 the alliance became a market representation partner to the 3GPP.
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