Standing on our 5G Soapbox

Standing on our 5G Soapbox

Analyzing Cellular Standards Leadership Through a Different Lens

05/21/2018 | 37 pages
Price: $1,525.00

Since 2010, SRG has been analyzing technology leadership during the standardization process, based on how frequently a company submits technical documents to the 3GPP standards body. Combined with our participation in 3GPP meetings since the start of the 5G standardization process, we are uniquely positioned to weigh in on this topic.

Highlights of the Report include the following:

Why Analyze TDoc Submissions?  Technical Document (TDoc) submissions made by 3GPP member companies are almost certainly the most likely entry point for all standard-essential patents (SEP) involving a cellular standard (3G, 4G, and 5G). Companies put forth the effort to introduce a TDoc and support its technical merits, because they believe there is something in it for them – the submission contains patented technologies or the idea fits well with their product roadmap, for example.

The Fallacy of Patent Counting. It isn’t possible to identify SEP until after 3GPP finishes a cellular specification, yet we’ve seen analysis done before  most 5G standardization efforts even began. One must then review ALL related patents from ALL potential companies and be intimately familiar with thousands of pages of technical specifications to determine SEP. Even then, there is a bit of subjectivity involved since the determination of SEP is rarely obvious.

The Numbers are In.  Ericsson, Nokia and Huawei are the top contributors during the 3GPP standardization process going back to the start of Release ’99. Collectively, they account for up to 41% of all TDoc submissions with the fourth place contributor well behind w.r.t. its contribution efforts. Each of these three companies can claim top honors for its efforts with 5G, 4G, or 3G standardization. Although there is nothing close to a 1:1 relationship between TDocs and SEP, we believe there is a good correlation. It is virtually impossible to have SEP unless a company participates in the standardization process.

Odds and Ends.  We explain the standardization process to help rationalize our methodology, which involves various sensitivity studies to reflect the way 3GPP operates. We also provide our thoughts on standardization leadership versus national security. Although there are economic incentives associated with being a leader, a company can’t introduce nefarious features, or any features for that matter, into the standards without the approval of mobile operators from around the world.