Introduction of 3GPP

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) unites seven telecommunications standard development organizations (ARIB, ATIS, CCSA, ETSI, TSDSI, TTA, TTC), known as the “Organizational Partners” and provides their members with a stable environment to produce the Reports and Specifications that define 3GPP technologies.

The project covers cellular telecommunications technologies, including radio access, core network and service capabilities, which provide a complete system description for mobile telecommunications.

The 3GPP specifications also provide hooks for non-radio access to the core network, and for interworking with non-3GPP networks.

The three Technical Specification Groups (TSGs) in 3GPP are:

  • Radio Access Networks (RAN),
  • Service & System Aspects (SA),
  • Core Network & Terminals (CT

The 3GPP technologies from these groups are constantly evolving through Generations of commercial cellular / mobile systems. With LTE, LTE-Advanced, LTE Advanced Pro, 5G and 5G Advanced work - 3GPP has become the focal point for the vast majority of mobile systems.

Although these Generations have become an adequate descriptor for the type of network under discussion, real progress on 3GPP standards is measured by the milestones achieved in particular Releases. New features are ’functionality frozen’ and are ready for implementation when a Release is completed. 3GPP works on a number of Releases in parallel, starting future work well in advance of the completion of the current Release.

Role & Activities of 3GPP SA5

3GPP Service & System Aspects Working Group 5 (SA WG5) is responsible for the standardization of Management, Orchestration and Charging for 3GPP-defined network and services. Both functional and service perspectives are covered. SA WG5 provides a 3GPP wide management view in coordination with the Core Network (CN) and the Radio Access Network (RAN) specifications. The 3GPP SA WG5 standard is continuously updated in order to take into account the development of the network and service technology specified in all 3GPP Working Groups.

SA WG5 specifies requirements, architecture, protocol technology neutral specifications and technology specific solutions related to management, orchestration and assurance of the RAN network domain, Core network domain, cross RAN and Core network domain. The solutions include management, orchestration and assurance of the 3GPP network and its services. Management operations, management models, data definitions, design principles and methodology are specified. Self-organizing networks (SON), management of AI/ML, management analytics, closed loop assurance, autonomous network levels and other autonomous capabilities in management domains are also important aspects addressed in SA WG5.

SA WG5 specifies charging architectures, functionalities and protocols associated to the network and its services encompassing the 3GPP technologies and interworking with non-3GPP networks. The solutions include capabilities for end user charging, Service Provider charging, as well as wholesale roaming.

Network and service management

The standardization scope for 3GPP-defined network and services management corresponding to the life cycle of planning, deployment, maintenance and optimization is currently grouped in the following three categories: Intelligence and Automation, Support of New Services, Management Architecture and Mechanisms.

Intelligence and Automation

With the continuous enhancement of network evolution, the coexistence of multiple RATs poses higher requirements for mobile network management. To better meet diversified network and service management requirements, the ability to support network intelligence and automation becomes the key to carriers' digital transformation. By sorting out the workflows in the network and service management lifecycle, it provides a standard basis for defining automation and intelligence levels in different scenarios. Automatic and intelligent management and orchestration is combined with intelligent NE analysis and self-organizing network capabilities, with adopting advanced technologies such as AI/ML, intent-driven and closed control loop are investigated to help operators to select typical scenarios and evolve to L4 networks in a planned and step-by-step manner.

Support of New Services

The evolution of 5G and 5G Advanced network technologies provides a network foundation to support more diversified new services. Non-public network management, mobile edge computing management, and management capability exposure enable operators to quickly deploy new services on live networks and meet diversified commercial deployment requirements. Key quality indicators, deterministic service assurance process, and management and monitoring capabilities are open to new service consumers to monitor and measure service experience performance and ensure end-to-end user experience. Network energy efficiency provides standardized specifications for energy efficiency evaluation in multi-vendor and multi-RAT hybrid network environment. Energy saving management reduces overall network energy consumption based on network usage with minimizing the impact on network performance.

Management Architecture and Mechanisms

Service based management architecture and cloud-native virtualization technologies support cloud-based management evolution, enable management and orchestration to realize autonomy, and provide service based management services. Continuous Integration Continuous Development (CI/CD) technology takes advantages of IT experience in the telecommunication domain to ensure agile collaboration in a multi-partner joint development environment. Basic network management, such as NTN management, URLLC management, 5G-LAN management, NWDAF management, network sharing management, minimization of drive tests and tracing data collection, slice provision rules, and network resource management models, provides basic network maintenance and interoperability in multi-vendor networks.


The evolution of 5G and 5G Advanced Charging specifies monetization capabilities under the service based charging architecture and functionalities framework. This includes the charging services exposed by the Converged Charging System (CCS) as well as Charging Data Records (CDRs) definition and interface to the billing system associated to the different 3GPP domains and their services.

3GPP domains include 5G System functionalities (Data connectivity, Connection and mobility, Northbound Exposure function APIs, Edge Computing, Non-Public Networks, Satellite, Wireless and Wireline Convergence, Network Slicing), IMS and the 3GPP-defined network and services management (e.g. for monetization in Network Slicing or Edge Computing areas).

3GPP services include 5GS services such as URLLC, 5G LAN, 5G Proximity-based Services, 5G Cellular Internet of Things, SMS over NAS in 5GS, 5G Multicast-broadcast Services, IMS Data Channel, Time-Sensitive Networking, AI/ML in 5GS and Data Analytics (supplied by 5GS or by the management service).

For each domain and service, the following are specified:

  • The converged charging architecture with applicable entities in the domain (e.g. applicable 5G Network Functions), to support the B2C (End User charging), B2B (Service provider charging) and wholesale roaming
  • The charging service exposed through service based Nchf interface:
    • ConvergedCharging with or without quota management
    • OfflineOnlyCharging (limited applicability)
  • Charging services OpenAPI
  • Charging Data Record (CDR) contents and
  • ASN.1 syntax

Standard output prior to 5G-advanced

Management prior to 5G-advanced

5G management includes the following features:

  • Service and Network Planning
    • SLA modelling and translating SLA requirements to network with cooperation efforts with GSMA and 3GPP SA WG1, SA WG2 and RAN groups.
  • Deployment
    • Network and network slicing management
    • NPN management 
  • Maintenance
    • Fault Supervision (FS) of network and network slicing
    • Performance assurance of network and network slicing 
    • Minimization of Drive Tests (MDT)
    • Trace management 
    • Quality of Experience (QoE) data collection 
  • Optimization
    • 5G SON management including self-configuration and self-optimisation
    • Energy Efficiency and energy saving management
    • Closed loop assurance
    • Intent driven management
    • Management data analytics
    • Network policy management for 5G mobile networks

LTE management includes the following features:

  • Configuration management and E-UTRAN and Evolved Packet Core (EPC) network resource models
  • Fault management for E-UTRAN and EPC network
  • Performance management for E-UTRAN and EPC network
  • Trace management for E-UTRAN and EPC network
  • MDT management for E-UTRAN and EPC network
  • SON management including self-configuration of eNB, ANR, self-optimization and self-healing.
  • Management of Home eNodeB and network resource models
  • Management and orchestration of mobile networks that include virtualized network functions
  • Network policy management for mobile networks based on Network Function Virtualization (NFV) scenarios
  • OAM (Operation, Management and Administration) aspects of LTE and WLAN integration

UMTS management includes the following features:

  • Configuration management and UTRAN, PS, CS and IP Multimedia System (IMS) network resource models
  • Fault management for UTRAN, Packet-Switched (PS), Circuit Switched (CS) and IMS network
  • Performance management for UTRAN, PS, CS and IMS network
  • Management of Home NodeB and network resource models

Charging prior to 5G

Charging specifies monetization capabilities under the charging architecture and functionalities framework evolution. This includes online charging and offline charging as well as Charging Data Records (CDRs) definition and interface to the billing system associated to the different 3GPP domains and their services.

3GPP domains include CS, PS, IMS and CP (Control Plane data transfer).

3GPP services include Location Service (LCS), Monitoring Event (MONTE), Multimedia Broadcast and Multicast Service (MBMS), Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), Multimedia Telephony (MMTel), Proximity-based Services (ProSe), Push-to-talk over Cellular (PoC) and Short Message Service (SMS).

For each domain and service, the following are specified:

  • The charging architecture with applicable entities in the domain (e.g. applicable network nodes)
  • Online charging, offline charging behaviours and CDRs, specific to the domain and service
  • The Diameter-based charging applications protocols
  • The ASN.1 syntax for the Charging Data Records (CDRs)

Standards  reference

A full list of related standards in the public domain is accessible via:

the 3GPP website (28-series) or the standards search on the ETSI website.

the 3GPP website (32-series) or the standards search on the ETSI website.