With no 5G standard (IMT 2020) China is working on 6G!
Consumers can’t buy 5G phones yet. But China is already talking about what comes next: 6G. The concept of 6G is still very much unkown, but experts expect speeds in the range of 1 Tbps. Researchers have already achieved mobile speeds of 1 Tbps during lab trials.
The head of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s (MIIT) 5G technology working group, Su Xin, told local media he also expects 6G to deliver improvements across the same three areas as 5G will deliver – improved bandwidth, low latency and wide connection areas.
Su Xin, head of 5G technology working group at China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said that China is starting research into 6G concepts this year. The country first started looking into 6G in March, making it one of the first countries to do so.
Su said that the actual development of 6G will officially begin in 2020, but commercial use will most likely have to wait until 2030.
The arrival of 5G has been touted as a big deal. It’s not just because it promises to bring fast mobile internet, it should also enable us to connect with machines – like gadgets, industrial machines and autonomous vehicles. For those Rip Van Winkle readers, “5G” is the name of the next-generation wireless technology that promises far faster internet access than 4G-LTE. Experts predict it will begin to take off in 2019, well in advance of the IMT 2020 standard from ITU-R. So what is 6G supposed to bring that 5G can’t, especially for ordinary folks?
For one thing, it could make mobile internet speeds of 1 TB per second mainstream. This means you could download around 100 films in less than a second. (It’s worth noting that researchers at the University of Surrey in England have already achieved that with 5G… but only inside a lab.)
Of course, 2030 is a long way away, so the actual applications of this technology may be hard to imagine. As Verizon executive Andrea Caldini pointed out at this year’s Mobile World Congress, nobody expected Snapchat while developing 4G – it’s the increased speeds that made it happen.
According to Su, 6G could connect our devices more efficiently than 5G, expanding internet coverage to much wider areas.
“5G has three application scenarios: large bandwidth, low latency, and wide connection – I think 6G can achieve better application in all three scenarios,” Su told local media, noting that 6G could increase transmission rates by more than 10 times. “It may revolutionize the structure of the whole wired and wireless network.”
If this sounds vague to you, it’s because there is still no definition for the technology. And according to industry insiders, it is too early to talk about 6G. It took 5G ten years to develop its set of standards, and despite commercial deployment this year, they are still not fully settled. So is 6G even a thing?
Roberto Saracco, professor at the University of Trento in Italy, believes that 5G is still a fuzzy set of promises that will take time, probably ten years, before being fulfilled. As for the next generation of connectivity, “marketing will need 6G as soon as 5G is deployed,” writes Saracco. Researchers will need a term to mark the novelty of what they are doing or to put technologies that do not fit into 5G standards into another box.
The vagueness of the term has not stopped countries to start looking into the concept. Finland’s University of Oulu launched an 6G research program called 6Genesis. Aside from futuristic phrases like “interoperability sensing based ops” and “intelligent personal edge,” one of the applications mentioned on their site is wireless augmented reality/virtual reality.
It’s worth noting that this might be an application for 5G, judging by Tencent boss Pony Ma’s suggestion that the technology could enable WeChat VR.
The new 6G movement in China could also be a way to rub their tech advancement in other people’s faces. The country is already way ahead of US in deploying 5G, according to Deloitte. Since 2015, China outspent the US by approximately $24 billion in wireless communications infrastructure (with $400 billion more coming) and built 350,000 new cell phone tower sites – while the US is still stuck at less than 30,000.
12 thoughts on “With no 5G standard (IMT 2020) China is working on 6G!”
Swiss network operator Sunrise is to replace its copper-based broadband services with a 5G-powered mobile alternative using technology developed by China’s Huawei, CEO Olaf Swantee revealed today.
The service provider, which competes against Swisscom AG and cable operator UPC Cablecom in the Swiss telecom market, had hinted at the plans in a press release published in June, when it said private customers would potentially be able to use 5G instead of fixed-line ADSL and VDSL services.
But Swantee went much further during a presentation he gave at Huawei’s Global MBB Forum on Tuesday afternoon, saying the goal was to substitute 5G for those ADSL and VDSL technologies — which deliver residential broadband over last-mile copper connections — in most places.
Sunrise Communications AG would continue to focus on its all-fiber strategy in more densely populated urban areas, where the operator’s FTTH [fiber-to-the-home] network now covers about 35% of households, and use 5G in suburban and rural areas, said Swantee.
“We want 5G to replace most of the ADSL and VDSL stuff and at the same time to compete against cable,” he said. “That is what we want to do and we are going to try to do it as fast as we can and with the availability of systems from Huawei.”
Swantee’s announcement came after Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. claimed to have shipped as many as 10,000 5G base stations to customers in Europe, the Middle East and South Korea, exceeding at least one analyst’s shipment expectations at this stage. (See Huawei Has Shipped 10K 5G Base Stations Outside China.)
Sunrise said it had put the country’s first 5G antenna into operation in June when it first suggested that 5G could be used to support residential broadband services in Switzerland.
The Swiss operator is one of a growing number of European telcos that see potential in 5G as an alternative to high-speed fixed lines for residential broadband services.
British operator Three UK, which similarly counts Huawei as a 5G supplier, recently flagged plans for a 5G-based home broadband service covering most of the country, while Orange Romania has been carrying out 5G broadband trials in Romania. (See Three UK to Go Big on 5G for Home Broadband and Orange Ups 5G Broadband Stakes in Romania.)
Open Fiber, a state-backed Italian wholesale operator, last week said it was looking into using 5G for broadband in areas it cannot economically cover with fiber-optic networks. (See Italy’s Struggling Wind Tre Eyes 5G Rollout in Late 2019.)
Swantee told attendees at Huawei’s event that he was focused on the broadband opportunity largely because Swiss regulations would pose a hindrance to other types of 5G deployment.
“The only other country where antenna regulation is so strict is Belgium and our antennas have regulation that is ten times stricter than what the WHO [World Health Organization] deems acceptable,” he said. “You have to make sure you stay in the strict radiation regulation of Switzerland and in cities, it is even harder because the antennas are more overloaded.”
He added: “5G for machines would require full nationwide coverage and because of antenna regulation that would take longer. It may be that regulation will change but, in the meantime, we are providing 4G for machines because we have amazing coverage.”
In its June press release, Sunrise also complained that “rigid administrative and technical implementing provisions and lengthy mobile network approval procedures… [threaten] to delay the introduction of 5G and its related performance enhancements until 2020 and beyond because the existing infrastructure is prevented from being expanded much further, especially in urban areas.”
In moving away from ADSL and VDSL technology, Sunrise would become less dependent on infrastructure owned by incumbent telco Swisscom, from which it buys wholesale network services.
Sunrise had nearly 449,000 fixed broadband customers at the end of September when it served more than 2.36 million mobile subscribers. Sales of Internet and TV services totaled 72 million Swiss francs ($72 million) in the recent third quarter, while overall revenues were up 2%, to CHF469 million ($471 million), compared with the year-earlier quarter.
Swantee was formerly the CEO of EE, a UK joint mobile venture between Germany’s Deutsche Telekom and France’s Orange. He left EE in early 2016 shortly after it was acquired in a landmark £12.5 billion ($16 billion, at today’s exchange rate) deal by UK telecom incumbent BT.
Keysight Technologies has won contracts from China Telecom and SK Telecom for 5G network design development and testing technology.
UK and Germany grow wary of Huawei as US turns up pressure-Delegation from Washington warns against using Chinese supplier for 5G networks. US, Australia and New Zealand have already blocked the use of Huawei 5G equipment on national security grounds.
The UK and Germany are growing wary of allowing Huawei, the Chinese telecoms company, to install 5G equipment in their countries after a US delegation visited Europe to urge heightened vigilance against national security threats.
UK security officials on Thursday issued a new public warning to Huawei, saying the Chinese company must fix problems in the equipment it provides to British networks or risk a further deterioration in what is an increasingly strained relationship.
The clear message delivered by the US delegation this month and in online communications is that Germany and the UK as key American allies must safeguard the security of their telecoms networks and supply chains, said people familiar with the situation.
The warnings come as Germany and the UK are preparing for auctions next year for 5G, a superfast service that will enable a new generation of digital products and services. Huawei is the world’s biggest telecoms equipment supplier and has been seen as a frontrunner to build the first networks in both countries, where it has conducted extensive 5G tests.
The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), part of the digital intelligence agency GCHQ, said Huawei must fix problems, highlighted in July, that pose “new risks in UK telecommunications networks”.
The issues came to a head in a tense meeting between the board set up to scrutinize Huawei equipment and the Chinese company earlier this month, said government officials and telecoms executives.
“As you might imagine there are some strains in the relationship as we deal with the issues set out in the latest oversight board report,” the spokesperson said. “But we remain committed to working with the company to put it right.”
Banning Huawei outright from providing 5G equipment to UK providers or removing them from existing telecoms networks remains unlikely, officials said. But the message to the Chinese company is clear.
“They are slowing down Huawei to allow the rest of the market to catch up,” said one former intelligence official. “If I was part of oversight board or government, I would be putting the boot in right now.”
UK security officials rejected the suggestion they are hardening their stance in response to growing pressure from the US, insisting the concerns are not based on Huawei’s Chinese origins as a company but on the way the company manufactures software and equipment which makes critical telecoms networks vulnerable to cyber attack.
A spokesperson for Huawei said: “We are grateful for this feedback and committed to addressing these issues. Cyber security remains Huawei’s top priority, and we will continue to actively improve our engineering processes and risk management systems.”
New Zealand this week became the latest country to take action against Huawei, blocking one of its biggest telecoms operators from using Huawei’s 5G equipment. The US and Australia have already blocked the company on national security grounds.
In Germany, officials said the mood in government was growing increasingly wary of Huawei’s potential involvement in building the country’s 5G network. While it is too early to say if Berlin will ban the Chinese company from participating, concerns in some parts of the government, including the foreign and interior ministries, is deepening, officials said.
“The US influence on this has really intensified recently,” said one German official, who requested anonymity.
Cui Haifeng, vice-president of Huawei in west Europe, told the Financial Times in Hamburg that the company was doing everything possible to allay concerns over security. Asked if Germany was set to issue a ban, he said: “So far, I never heard about this kind of thing.”
“[For] every technology for us at Huawei we always try to put the security and safety as top priorities so all the design, products and services will be safe,” Mr Cui said.
Raffaello Pantucci, director of international securities studies at UK think-tank RUSI
“The NCSC has concerns around a range of technical issues and has set out improvements the company must make,” a government spokesperson said. “In the UK, the conversation with regard to China has definitely shifted with the hawks becoming kind of dominant,” Mr Pantucci added.
The main US concern over Huawei equipment is that the company’s ties to the Chinese government could enable snooping or interference. Huawei has strongly denied such charges.
More generally, the US is worried about the potential application of China’s National Intelligence Law, approved in 2017, which states that Chinese “organisations and citizens shall . . . support, co-operate with and collaborate in national intelligence work”. The risk, said US officials, is that this could mean that Chinese companies overseas are called upon to engage in espionage.
https://www.ft.com/content/6719b6b2-f33d-11e8-9623-d7f9881e729f (on line sub required)
ITU-T Focus Group on Technologies for Network 2030
The ITU-T Focus Group Technologies for Network 2030 (FG NET-2030) was established by ITU-T Study Group 13 at its meeting in Geneva, 16-27 July 2018.
The Focus Group, intends to study the capabilities of networks for the year 2030 and beyond, when it is expected to support novel forward-looking scenarios, such as holographic type communications, extremely fast response in critical situations and high-precision communication demands of emerging market verticals. The study aims to answer specific questions on what kinds of network architecture and the enabling mechanisms are suitable for such novel scenarios.
The study is collectively called ‘Network 2030’. It will be further realized by the exploration of new communication mechanisms from a broad perspective and is not restricted by existing notions of network paradigms or to any particular existing technologies. Network 2030 may be built upon a new or refined network architecture to carry information in a manner that may evolve from, or is quite different from today’s networks. Regardless, Network 2030 based systems shall ensure they remain fully backward compatible, supporting both existing and new applications.
The FG NET-2030, as a platform to study and advance international networking technologies, will investigate the future network architecture, requirements, use cases, and capabilities of the networks for the year 2030 and beyond.
The objectives include:
• To study, review and survey existing technologies, platforms, and standards for identifying the gaps and challenges towards Network 2030, which are not supported by the existing and near future networks like 5G/IMT-2020.
• To formulate all aspects of Network 2030, including vision, requirements, architecture, novel use cases, evaluation methodology, and so forth.
• To provide guidelines for standardization roadmap.
• To establish liaisons and relationships with other SDOs.
WSJ: Where China Dominates in 5G Technology-Patents and Standards Proposals
By Dan Strumpf February 27, 2019 WSJ PRINT EDITION
HONG KONG—Western countries are building more barriers to Huawei Technologies Co. equipment in their 5G network rollouts. But that won’t change an underlying truth about the next-generation communications networks: Technology developed in China will be at the center.
Huawei, and its crosstown rival ZTE Corp. have put forth vastly more proposals—and are among the biggest owners of key patents—underpinning the coming wave of 5G technology. That is in contrast to Western firms, which played a comparatively smaller role in the blueprint and design of 5G than in previous generations of wireless technology.
Huawei’s clout in the design of 5G stems from its massive research and development budget, and from its aggressive contributions to the round-the-world meetings where engineers cobbled together the underlying architecture of 5G.
As a result, the Chinese tech juggernaut as of early February owned 1,529 “standard-essential” 5G patents, the most of any company. Together with patents owned by ZTE, the state-owned China Academy of Telecommunications Technology, and Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Corp., companies from China own 36% of all 5G standard-essential patents, more than double their share of comparable 4G patents, according to data-analytics firm IPlytics.
The Chinese 5G patents cover technology associated with everything from 5G handset components for base stations and driverless-car technology. And telecom companies around the world—including those operating in places where Huawei gear might be off-limits—will have to pay royalties to Huawei to license that technology when it comes time to put 5G networks on the ground, experts say.
U.S. firms, by contrast, including Qualcomm Inc. QCOM andIntel Corp, hold just 14% of critical 5G patents, according to IPlytics. Huawei’s clout in 5G sets it apart from previous generations of wireless networks, which saw significantly fewer contributions from Chinese mobile companies compared with U.S. and European firms.
After 4G, Chinese companies led by Huawei amassed bigger delegations and submitted more proposals at meetings where 5G’s specifications were hammered out. Huawei in particular became known for its army of engineers and sheer volume of technical proposals at the meetings. It submitted 11,423 5G standards proposals, the largest share of any firm and more than double the most active U.S. firm, chip maker Qualcomm, according to IPlytics.
“In 4G, the situation was very much the Chinese players having to pay royalties to license these patents from the Western companies,” says Edison Lee, telecom analyst at the investment bank Jefferies in Hong Kong. “Now that the Chinese companies own such a significant share of the patents, the Western companies need to pay to license from them.”
Huawei’s prowess in next-generation technology stems partly from the fact that it now regularly outspends its rivals in research and development, a fact that has alarmed some policy makers in Washington. In 2017, the company spent $13 billion on R&D, more than any other Chinese tech company, and more than its chief rivals Ericsson and Nokia combined.
China Out Front
Chinese companies play a leading role in 5G patents and technical standards.
Number of standard-essential patents as of Feb. 4, 2019:
Huawei Technologies | China 1529
Nokia | Finland 1,397
Ericsson | Sweden 10,351
Samsung | South Korea 1,296
ZTE | China 1,208
Ericsson | Sweden 812
Qualcomm | U.S. 787
LG Electronics | South Korea 744
Intel | U.S. 550
CATT | China 545
Number of 5G standards proposals/contributions (to whom?) as of Dec. 12, 2018:
Huawei Technologies China 11,423
Ericsson | Sweden 10,351
HiSilicon (Huawei subsidiary) | China 7,248
Nokia | Finland 6,878
Qualcomm | U.S. 4.493
Samsung Electronics | South Korea 4,083
Intel | U.S. 3,502
ZTE | China 3,378
LG Electronics | South Korea 2,909
CATT | China 2,316
Source: IPlytics [not clear if standards proposals are to 3GPP, ITU-R, ITU-T or all of the above]
That spending has helped give Huawei an edge in the competition in standards and patents—which is just one part of the broader race among China, the U.S. and other countries to build fully functional 5G networks that run the gamut of promised technologies.
Some of Huawei’s proposals are now fundamental building blocks of 5G. They include one highly prized technique called “polar coding,” a method for correcting errors in data transmission. Huawei poured resources into developing it, and polar coding became a rallying cry for Huawei and its Chinese peers at standards meetings. After it was partially adopted as an official 5G standard at a critical meeting in 2016, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei threw an opulent ceremony at the company’s Shenzhen headquarters to celebrate.
The monetary value of Huawei’s 5G patents isn’t yet clear, and privately held Huawei doesn’t disclose its revenue from licensing its existing intellectual property. Its rivals, however, do make such disclosures—and for some it is a big chunk of money. In 2017, Finland’s Nokia generated €1.65 billion ($1.86 billion at current exchange rates) from technology licensing, accounting for about 7% of revenue. In its most recent fiscal year Qualcomm, whose intellectual property is used in virtually all of the world’s smartphones, generated $5.2 billion from technology licensing, more than one-fifth of its total revenue.
To be sure, 5G licensing schemes will flow both ways, with Huawei paying its competitors to use their technology, too. But the sheer number of patents owned by Huawei means that the Chinese company will garner a substantial revenue stream from the licensing of its 5G patents—regardless of whether some countries choose to block Huawei from their 5G rollouts, says Tim Pohlmann, chief executive of IPlytics.
“It means guaranteed revenue,” Mr. Pohlmann says. While governments “don’t want to have the equipment provided by Huawei, they will for sure have to use the patents, and they will for sure have to pay Huawei for it.”
Huawei’s clout in 5G technology is independent of the political firestorm it faces. It has been effectively banned from selling telecom gear in the U.S. due to concerns that its equipment could be used to spy on Americans. The company has forcefully denied this, and last month Mr. Ren in a series of interviews said Huawei would never conduct espionage on behalf of any government.
Still, Many Western companies, at the urging of the U.S., are now weighing new restrictions on Huawei’s 5G technology. So far, Australia and New Zealand have already taken steps blocking Huawei gear in their 5G rollout.
Despite its troubles, Huawei is moving ahead with the production of 5G equipment. Company executives say Huawei has secured more than 30 commercial contracts to provide 5G equipment, and has shipped more than 25,000 5G base stations. It is set to unveil a 5G-capable mobile phone in late February.
The reliance, to be sure, cuts both ways. Some of the most crucial 5G
technologies still come from Western firms. For example, a type of critical chipset that telecom-equipment makers need to design 5G base stations called field-programmable gate arrays are made only by two U.S. companies, says Jefferies’ Mr. Lee: Xilinx Inc. and Altera Corp., a unit of Intel.
The lion’s share of 5G patents, however, are owned by the Chinese.
“When you invest like that in the standardization process, and you invest time and effort and manpower and so forth, you end up seeing a significant portion of the essential intellectual property being in your hands,” says Phil Marshall, CEO of Tolaga Research, a wireless-technology research firm. “It illustrates how embedded Huawei and ZTE are in these technologies,” Mr. Marshall says. “You can’t just turn the faucet off easily.”
Mr. Strumpf is a Wall Street Journal reporter in Hong Kong. Write to [email protected]
The following table provides the schedule of the planned major deliverables of ITU-R WP 5D:
Date Meeting Anticipated Milestones
July 2019 Brazil WP 5D #32
• Finalize draft new Report ITU-R M.[IMT.1 452-1 492 MHz]
• Consider further work regarding new Recommendation ITU-R M.[MT.3300 MHz FSS]
• Progress draft new Report ITU-R M.[IMT.EXPERIENCES]
• Finalize revision of Recommendation ITU-R M.1036
• Finalize draft new Report ITU-R M.[IMT.MS/MSS.2GHz]
• Update/Finalize draft new Report/Recommendation ITU-R M.[IMT.1518 MHz COEXISTENCE]
• Finalize draft new Report/Recommendation ITU-R M.[IMT.3300 MHz RLS]
• Finalize Doc. IMT-2020/YYY Input Submissions Summary
• Finalize revision of Recommendation M.2012
• Finalize Addendum 4 to Circular Letter IMT 2020
• Finalize draft new Question ITU-R [IMT.Specific industrial applications]/5
• Finalize draft revisions to existing ITU-R Resolutions, Questions and Opinion
December 2019 Geneva WP 5D #33 (max 4 day meeting)
• Focus meeting on evaluation – review of external activities in Independent Evaluation groups through interim evaluation reports
• Workshop on evaluation of IMT-2020 terrestrial radio interfaces
February 2020 [TBD] WP 5D #34 • Finalize Doc. IMT-2020/ZZZ Evaluation Reports Summary
• Finalize Doc. IMT-2020/VVV Process and use of GCS
• Finalize Addendum 5 to Circular Letter IMT 2020
• Finalize draft new Report M.[IMT.AAS]
• Finalize draft new Report ITU-R M.[HAPS-IMT]
June 2020 [TBD] WP 5D #35
• Finalize draft new Report ITU-R M.[IMT-2020.OUTCOME]
• Finalize Addendum 6 to Circular Letter IMT 2020
October 2020 [TBD] WP 5D #36
• Finalize draft new Recommendation ITU-R M.[IMT 2020.SPECS]
• Finalize Addendum 7 to Circular Letter IMT 2020
From the ITU-R 5D Chairman’s report (18 March 2019) of their 11-15 February 2019, Geneva, Switzerland meeting:
This meeting reviewed the received a number of input contributions on “Process and use of the Global Core Specification (GCS), references, and related certifications in conjunction with Recommendation ITU-R M.[IMT 2020.SPECS]” and there continues to be two diverse philosophies on how to proceed with the document – one desiring to significantly alter the process to support specific national needs in the transposition phase of the process and the other demonstrating how the same objective could be accomplished with the existing process remaining unaltered in its scope, steps, and procedures.
In the WP 5D Plenary, one Administration requested that for clarity and transparency, and to assist further discussions, that the two alternate views provided on the SharePoint during the course of the 31 bis meeting (based on contributions to meetings Nos. 31 and 31 bis) be referenced in the Chairman’s Report. The two views are Indian Way Forward (provided by TSDSI) and Summary of a Proposed IMT-2020 VVV Way Forward (AT&T v3 2-14-19) (provided by AT&T).
Doc. IMT-2020/YYY Input Submissions Summary
Based on the input contributions, the working document towards an acknowledgment template was further developed. This acknowledgement is to be developed for each candidate technology submission that ITU-R WP 5D determines is a “complete” submission in Step 3. This template also contains a checklist which could assist in determination of “completeness. This document will need to be completed at Meeting #32 to capture the final RIT/SRIT submissions submitted from the proponents.
ITU-R Working Party 5D Workshop on IMT-2020 Terrestrial Radio Interfaces Evaluation
WP 5D will hold a workshop on IMT-2020 focussing on the evaluation of the candidate terrestrial radio interfaces in conjunction with the 33rd meeting in December 2019 (shifted from the prior plan of holding this at Meeting #32), in which interim evaluation reports are expected. This will facilitate the possibility on the IEGs to understand the details of the proposed candidate technologies, and to interact with WP 5D and other IEGs participating in the ITU-R evaluation process on IMT 2020. This workshop is a continuation of the previous workshop on IMT-2020 held in 2017, Munich, which addressed the process, requirements, and evaluation criteria for IMT-2020 as well as views from proponents on the developments on IMT-2020 radio interface(s) and IEGs activities.
China’s carriers dig deep for world-beating 5G
China’s carriers are starting their long ascent to the 5G spending peak. Two of the country’s three largest mobile providers have indicated how much they will pay for the initial buildout of next generation technology this year, the first real hint of how they might approach a huge project being rolled out with a push from Beijing. Costs look manageable for now, but investors are not in the clear.
Shanghai Becomes World’s First District With 5G Coverage
The 5G stations are being installed in different parts of China, including Tibet, as part of Huawei’s plans to lead the 5G trials despite the opposition. Shanghai claimed on Saturday March 30, 2019 that it has become the world’s first district using both 5G coverage and broadband gigabit network as China seeks to establish lead over the US and other countries in the race to develop next generation cellular mobile communications.
Trial runs of the 5G network, backed by state-run telecom carrier China Mobile, officially started the service in Shanghai’s Hongkou on Saturday, where 5G base stations had been deployed over the last three months to ensure full coverage, the report said.
During a launch ceremony, Shanghai vice-mayor Wu Qing made the network’s first 5G video call on an Huawei Mate X, the world’s first 5G foldable, AI phone, it said.
Huawei, China’s telecom technology giant, whose revenue in 2018 crossed USD 100 billion, is battling a wave of opposition to its 5G trials from the US and different countries. Huawei has denied official links with the Chinese government.
China kicks off 6G telecom service R&D amid aggressive 5G push-Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology on Wednesday announced the establishment of two offices to develop 6G
China has officially commenced the research and development of the 6G telecom service, days after launching 5G cellular services in the country in a bid to advance its ambitious goal to emerge as a global leader in the next generation telecom technology, surpassing the US and the western countries.
The Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology on Wednesday announced the establishment of two offices to develop 6G, setting off the competition for the next-generation cellular data service that comes after the super-fast 5G.
The Ministry said one of the offices will house the government agencies responsible for the relevant policy making.
The other is comprised of 37 experts from colleges, research academies and enterprises, who are expected to advise policymakers, it said.
China’s Vice-Minister for Science and Technology Wang Xi said that worldwide knowledge about the telecom technology is still in an exploratory stage, without consensus over its definitions and applications.
The ministry will work with relevant departments to roll out a plan for 6G development, and work towards breakthroughs regarding its basic theories, key technologies and standards, state-run China Daily quoted him as saying on Thursday.
By already launching research into sixth-generation (6G) technology, China can be expected to extend the country’s healthy lead over the US in global 5G into a future world that is increasingly reliant on technology, Chinese experts said on Thursday.
The announcement by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) Wednesday that China was kicking off research into 6G came a few days after the rollout of 5G commercial services in China, the world’s largest internet market.
Chinese net users responded to the ministry announcement by expressing marvel at the nation’s capability and resolve to set its eyes on next-generation technology.
The ministry, together with several government departments, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the National Natural Science Foundation of China, held a meeting in Beijing on Sunday to start research on 6G technology, according to a statement posted on its website.
Two teams were announced: one consisting of relevant government bodies and the other made up of 37 experts from universities, scientific research institutes and companies.
The announcement invited a global spotlight on China’s technological achievements, although 6G is already on the agenda of major economies including the US and a slew of technology firms including Chinese tech giant Huawei.
Ready for a head start
“6G will certainly be a major upgrade in terms of functions and performances including mobile broadband, latency, reliability, intelligence, power consumption and coverage, although 6G is still a concept so far without specific definition and standards,” said Tang Xiongyan, chief scientist of the network technology research institute at China Unicom, one of the country’s three telecom carriers.
Technologies and frameworks should be adopted to boost research and exploration, Tang told the Global Times on Thursday.
The system of networks carried by electromagnetic waves is nearing its technical limits, leaving the industry to contemplate what format will enable the next generation of mobile network technology.
Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Beijing-based Information Consumption Alliance, predicted that researchers may explore the potential of terahertz waves or integrate space, sea and ground functions into an intelligent network.
China’s 6G drive, albeit not targeting the US, will inevitably add a new layer of anxiety for a country already haunted by China’s rising technological prowess, Chinese industry insiders said.
Europe, the US, Japan and South Korea are probably all about to kick off 6G research, Tang noted.
“When one generation of telecommunication technology is put into commercial use, it is time to carry out research on technologies and standards for the next generation,” he said, “This is routine.”
In a fresh move in late October, Sony, NTT and Intel announced they were forming a 6G partnership.
South Korea’s LG Electronics announced as early as January that it was embarking on a research and development plan for 6G telecommunications, and in June Samsung Electronics and SK Telecom decided to work together to develop 6G, according to South Korean media reports.
European countries have also started 6G research, with the University of Oulu in Finland establishing a 6G center early this year and publishing what it claimed was the world’s first 6G white paper in September, outlining the key drivers, research requirements and challenges.
Like 5G, 6G research will hinge on open innovation and international cooperation, Tang believed.
But Chinese market watchers say the US fancies itself a pioneer in global protectionism, meaning any such global push would not be so easy and would most likely have to be spearheaded by China.
Tang predicted the US would reinforce its technological advantage in microelectronics and software, and hope to change the traditional rules of the telecom industry and gain a new edge through subversive technology, ecosystem and business innovation.
The US will surely be alert to Chinese 6G, said Xiang, the consumption alliance director-general.
“The Trump administration is likely to impose more severe sanctions on Chinese tech companies, including Huawei and ZTE, and meanwhile, ban more technology communication or transfer with Chinese companies in an attempt to contain China’s 6G technology development,” Xiang said.
However, US sanctions and technology blocks will not deter China and will help Chinese technology develop more rapidly, he said, citing China’s 5G technology as a precursor.
Chinese analysts all agreed that China was likely to overtake the US in 6G development.
They pointed out the US approach is driven by companies and so cannot attract the best manpower and equipment from all sectors.
Meanwhile technology push is based on the comprehensive research of companies, research institutions and other related departments under government guidance “which is surely more competitive,” Xiang said.
As 6G blurs international borders, the US technological approach of splendid isolation will soon lag behind, experts said.
China and the EU with their more open attitudes toward markets and technology will have broader cooperation opportunities, Fu Liang, a Beijing-based telecom industry expert, told the Global Times.
Chinese companies such as Huawei have been cooperating with the EU to deepen 5G development, with broader market access for both sides, he noted.
Zhou Zheng contributed to this story
Japan is reportedly working on its 6G strategy for 2030, in spite of slow 5G roll out
There are reports that Japan is already looking beyond 5G to draw up plans for “post-5G” technology by 2030. Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications plans to create a joint government–civilian research society this January. The panel will focus on policy, technology and potential use cases. Local media suggests that the first meeting could take place as early as next Monday. Key players, such as NTT and Toshiba, will reportedly also be invited to share their views on 6G’s potential and related policies in June. As always, speculation is rife about the potential of this future technology, with some suggesting that it could be ten times faster than 5G. Other benefits are likely to include the ability to smoothly connect multiple devices simultaneously, increased safety measures, and reduced power consumption. Last year, the Japanese government pledged 220 billion yen (~$2 billion) to encourage private sector research in 6G technology. “The smooth introduction of standards for next-generation wireless communications networks is indispensable to boosting Japan’s international competitiveness,” said Japan’s communications minister Sanae Takaichi. This focus on 6G may come as something of a surprise to those who note that Japan’s 5G rollout has not been as rapid its local neighbours, China and South Korea, which both launched the technology last year. Japan, on the other hand, has a plan to launch so-called “local 5G” this spring, with the infrastructure to be installed in some specific areas, such as selected hospitals and factories. NTT is also reportedly planning to launch a 5G video-streaming service in March. Japan is not the first country to get the ball rolling with 6G development. Finland is one country notably already developing the technology – the University of Oulu published what has been described as 6G’s first white paper in September – and China announced its 6G ambitions just days after three of its mobile operators launched 5G last November. With the global focus on the 5G race, it is easy to forget that technology is a continuum, constantly evolving and inching ever closer redefining itself. The starting gun for the 6G race has already been fired and Japan, for one, is looking for a place on the podium.
Comments are closed.