Why the Multiple “Drops” in 5G Time Line?

3GPP has a specified release timeline to ensure the standard is delivered on time.
Release 16 is still anticipated in 2020 to line up with the ITU.

For the 5G timeline, there’re 3 drops as below: 

  1. “Early drop” for Non-Standalone 5G
     – Addresses the most urgent deployment needs for eMBB.
         Uses LTE anchor with 5G NR in Dual Connectivity configuration.
    – Accelerated specification to ensure a single global ecosystem.
  2. “Main drop” for Standalone 5G
    It contains full standalone 5G support with 5G Core.
  3. “Late drop” for accelerated migration
    It contains specs for all potential migration options.