Introduction and Problem Statement

After a number of years of research and technical development, the initial 5G New Radio technology according to Release 15 is now deployed as mainstream technology serving the public and industry. As in LTE, there will be several evolutions of New Radio as well within the upcoming 3GPP releases. Many extensions are currently under investigation in 3GPP to enable further markets to be addressed by cellular based communication systems, like automotive, positioning, industrial production/automation and TV distribution.

There is a unique opportunity in 3GPP to standardize satellite as an integral part in 5G as part of the Release 17 together with the cellular stakeholders given their increasing interest in the topic. This opportunity has to be seized immediately to prevent the risk of a postponement of the standard development to future Releases beyond 17 while SatCom users and service providers are calling for standardized solutions.

5G Broadcast and Multicast scenarios are only under consideration for future 3GPP releases [1], while satellite could offer considerable benefits to such use cases. Broadcast/multicast is an essential use case, where satellites have a big benefit, so this activity is considered as future oriented.

So far, eMBMS is based on LTE and currently there is no effort spent in 3GPP to integrate MBMS type of features into 5G New Radio (NR). In contrast to all NR adaptations to support satellite for unicast traffic, no discussions started yet to support multicast/broadcast in NR.

In the recent year, 3GPP has acknowledged the relevance and importance of satellite technologies to enable the envisioned demands of 5G services. This is evident from the recent work on the definition of requirements in SA1 on the Rel-16 work item “Integration of Satellite Access in 5G”. In conjunction, SA2 works on the architecture in the study item “Study on architecture aspects for using satellite access in 5G”. Despite, RAN plenary has approved a Rel-16 study item in June 2018 for 3GPP NR air interface solutions to support Non Terrestrial Networks, but not including broadcast/multicast services. 3GPP is officially not considering Broadcast/Multicast (BC/MC) in 5G New Radio, yet, and so far is only analyzing currently to what extent Rel-14 enTV already fulfils the requirements set for 5G MC/BC. This study item is currently continued by 3GPP as a RAN work item within Rel-16 [2].

Objective and work to be performed

Without a study item report or a specification basis, it is obviously difficult to establish a prototype already for eMBMS type of services in New Radio, but the potential benefits of 5G broadcast/multicast natively supported via satellite shall already be demonstrated with a Proof-of-Concept Software emulation in this activity. A software simulation with abstracted Radio Access Technology (RAT) would be useful to show the benefit for traffic offloading scenarios like major events (e.g. football games) with lot of request for broadcast/multicast. This could promote this important satellite use case in 3GPP RAN standardization for Rel-17 onwards.

The activity shall implement a prototype software to demonstrate the added value of satellite to such MC/BC use cases. Future evolutions of e.g. eMBMS shall be demonstrated.

A cooperation with 5G-METEORS activity 5 [3] is appreciated.

Deliverables and Output

  • Proof-of-concept software which can be used for public demonstrations, e.g. at major cellular events and exhibitions.
  • Technical note on findings.

Duration and schedule (mid term milestone and review, if applicable)

The duration of the activity shall not exceed 6 month, with one intermediate review.

Maximum budget available for the activity

The budget of this activity shall not exceed 50000 €.

References and related Activities


[2] 3GPP RP-190732, “LTE-based 5G terrestrial broadcast”, Shenzhen, China, 2019-03

[3] 5G-METEORS Activity 5 “Demonstration Activity”

Proposal Submission

Submit your proposal to this topic here.