Development of “IMT Vision for 2030 and beyond” from ITU-R WP 5D


No organization, standards or spec writing body have detailed anything real related to “6G.”  All the 6G claims from telecom equipment vendors and network operators are pure propaganda/hype. There is no consensus of what 6G will be, nor is there any effort to standardize “5G Advanced.”  Hence, there is no basis whatsoever to talk about standardized 5G Advanced or 6G anytime soon.

Yes, we know 3GPP is working on Release 18 which will have many new features and functions, but their Release 16 (frozen one year ago) is not complete– at least not for the URLLC 5G NR specification and performance testing.  Don’t talk about “5G Advanced” or “6G” if the key use case (URLLC) for 5G is not complete.  Nor is the implementation specified for “5G core” or 5G advanced functions, e.g. network slicing, as we’ve stated many, many times.

This article examines what’s real: the important ongoing work by ITU-R (the official standards body for cellular communications and frequencies) on the vision, goals and objectives for what may become 6G.  Or maybe not?

ITU-R WP 5D Efforts on IMT Vision for 2030 (which will include “6G”):

ITU-R Working Party 5D (WP 5D) has started to develop a new draft Recommendation “IMT Vision for 2030 and beyond” at their March 2021 meeting. This Recommendation might be helpful to drive the industries and administrations to encourage further development of IMT for 2030 and beyond.

This Recommendation will define the framework and overall objectives of the future development of IMT for 2030 and beyond, including the role that IMT could play to better serve the needs of the future society, for both developed and developing countries.

For the development of this draft new Recommendation, WP 5D would like to invite the views of External Organizations on the IMT Vision for 2030 and beyond, including but not limited to, user and application trends, evolution of IMT, usage scenario, capabilities and framework and objectives.

WP 5D will also develop a new draft Report ITU-R M.[IMT.FUTURE TECHNOLOGY TRENDS] which focuses on the following aspects:

This Report provides a broad view of future technical aspects of terrestrial IMT systems considering the time frame up to 2030 and beyond. It includes information on technical and operational characteristics of terrestrial IMT systems, including the evolution of IMT through advances in technology and spectrally-efficient techniques, and their deployment.”

For the development of these reports, WP 5D invites the views of External Organizations on future technology trends for terrestrial IMT systems, including but not limited to the motivation on driving factors such as new use cases, applications, capabilities, technology trends and enablers. These technical inputs are intended for the timeframe towards 2030 and beyond and are proposed to be significantly advanced and different from that of IMT-2020.

Related documents: ITU Recommendations, Reports, Documents and Handbook:

Recommendation ITU-R M.1645 – Framework and overall objectives of the future development of IMT‑2000 and systems beyond IMT‑2000

Recommendation ITU-R M.2083 – IMT Vision – “Framework and overall objectives of the future development of IMT for 2020 and beyond”

Recommendation ITU-R M.1457 – Detailed specifications of the terrestrial radio interfaces of International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000)

Recommendation ITU-R M.2012 – Detailed specifications of the terrestrial radio interfaces of International Mobile Telecommunications Advanced (IMT-Advanced)

Recommendation ITU-R M.2150 – Detailed specifications of the terrestrial radio interfaces of International Mobile Telecommunications-2020 (IMT-2020)

Report ITU-R M.2243 – Assessment of the global mobile broadband deployments and forecasts for International Mobile Telecommunications

Report ITU-R M.2320 – Future technology trends of terrestrial IMT systems

Report ITU-R M.2370 – IMT Traffic estimates for the years 2020 to 2030

Report ITU-R M.2376 – Technical feasibility of IMT in bands above 6 GHz

Report ITU-R M.2134 – Requirements related to technical performance for IMT‑Advanced radio interface(s)

Report ITU-R M.2410 – Minimum requirements related to technical performance for IMT-2020 radio interface(s)

Report ITU-R M.2441 – Emerging usage of the terrestrial component of International Mobile Telecommunication (IMT)

Report ITU-R M.[IMT.FUTURE TECHNOLOGY TRENDS TOWARDS 2030 AND BEYOND] – Future technology trends of terrestrial IMT systems towards 2030 and beyond


Key objectives of the Vision towards IMT for 2030 and beyond:

  • Focus on continued need for increased coverage, increased capacity and extremally high user data rates;

  • Focus on continued need for lower latency and both high and low speed of movement of the mobile terminals;

  • Fully support the development of a Ubiquitous Intelligent Mobile Society;

  • Focus on tackling societal challenges identified in UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular to meet the needs of Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure;

  • Consider what the future heterogenous mobile broadband networks can offer to the society and the economy through the applications and services they support;

  • Target the changing global scenario on how we work and how we stay safe during the societal challenges such COVID-19 pandemic and global climate changes;

  • Focus on delivering on digital inclusion and connecting the rural and remote communities.


The 4 key pillars for the vision:

  1. Any future technology should help in the development of a Ubiquitous Intelligent Mobile Connected Society (whatever that means is TBD).

  2. Any future technology should support technologies that can help bridge the digital divide.

  3. Any future technology should support technologies that can Personalize / localize services.

  4. Any future technology should support the connectivity / compute technologies that can address issues of real-world data ownership sensitivities.

Brief text for each of the pillars is as below:

1.  Development of a Ubiquitous Intelligent Mobile Connected Society:

It is anticipated that Public / Private / Enterprise networks, specialized networks (application / vertical specific), IOT / sensor networks will increase in numbers in the coming years and could be based on multiple radio access technologies. Interoperability is one of the most significant challenges to enable a ubiquitous intelligent, connected / compute environment, where different networks, processes, applications, use cases and organizations are connected. This includes supporting very high bandwidth requirements applications such as holographic communications, digital twins etc to supporting extremely low bandwidth requirement use cases such as sensors.

2.  Support technologies that can bridge the digital divide: It is a very important considerations for any future technology development.

Future networks / technologies should support affordability as a key parameter and to that end support technologies such as:

      1. Highly composable networks /architectures to address issues of cost and affordability.

      2. Dynamic Spectrum Sharing technologies which can lower the cost of initial spectrum purchase.

      3. Heterogeneous device types to bring the cost of affordability down without compromising high end usage scenarios.

      4. Energy efficiency to enable affordability and sustainability.

3.  Support technologies that can Personalize /localize services.

As home network capabilities, edge device / network capabilities are enhanced, there is an opportunity to personalize services like never before. It’s important that personalization (focused on individuals, homes, apartments small / medium enterprises) services is a key focus area.

4.  Support technologies that can mimic real world data ownerships and hierarchies.

Personal data protection is becoming important and as nations are focused on data protection and management it is important that any future network / technology takes into account the intrinsic data hierarchies and management aspects. Data ownership granularity spans from personal data, enterprise or group data, organizational data, data considered as national assets (data that is not allowed to leave the geographic boundaries)


External Organizations will be invited to contribute to this work item via contributions to future ITU-R WP 5D meetings in 2021 and 2022.


Source:  ITU-R WP 5D


Addendum from Leo Lehmann, Chairman ITU-T SG13:

ITU-T had run Focus Group Network-2030, which was concluded in July 2020. This Focus Group studied the capabilities of networks for the year 2030 and beyond. Those networks are 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.

It has produced a remarkable “White Paper: “Network 2030 – A Blueprint of Technology, Applications and Market Drivers Towards the Year 2030 and Beyond(May 2019).”

Even though studies are focusing only on “non-radio-related” aspects, the given use cases might be very important for the further discussion how they might be supported by corresponding spectrum requirements (whatever “G”).


6 thoughts on “Development of “IMT Vision for 2030 and beyond” from ITU-R WP 5D

  1. Energy (power consumption) is a huge issue for the next generation wireless network. Current 5G NR requires much more energy consumption at both the 5G base station and wireless end point devices. Handset battery is the second big bottleneck issue, with requirements of smaller handset size, longer standby time, and increasing device energy consumption. All that requires a battery technology breakthrough. I have not seen any hope so far for next few years (i.e. till 2030).

    1. Thanks for your spot on comment Yigang. The 5G energy consumption issue is even more important for mmWave, which Verizon (5G Ultra Wideband Network) and other wireless carriers are promoting due to its higher speed (but limited distance and line of sight requirements). Missing from the current ITU-R “IMT for 2030 and Beyond” is REDUCTION OF ENERGY CONSUMPTION!

  2. Recent examples of FAKE NEWS:

    1. Japan teams up with Finland on 6G development- NTT and Nokia enlisted to help set standards in race with China

    Industry groups from Japan and Finland will conduct joint research and development of sixth-generation communications technology, looking to lead the creation of 6G standards in a field increasingly influenced by Chinese companies.

    Finnish telecom supplier Nokia, a global leader in the industry, will join the effort.

    Japan’s Beyond 5G Promotion Consortium will sign the agreement soon with Finnish group 6G Flagship. The accord is to be announced Tuesday at the Global Digital Summit 2021, an event organized by Nikkei and Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

    The initiative follows a $4.5 billion commitment by Japan and the U.S. toward the development of next-generation communications technology, in a partnership announced in April. Extending the cooperation to “third-countries” to promote secure connectivity is seen helping in the competition with China to set global standards.

    The Beyond 5G Promotion Consortium, which aims to commercialize 6G technology in the 2030s, includes the University of Tokyo along with major Japanese telecom players such as Nippon Telegraph & Telephone, NTT Docomo, KDDI, SoftBank Corp. and Rakuten Mobile. 6G Flagship is led by Finland’s University of Oulu.

    Members of the Japanese consortium will engage in joint research projects and personnel exchange. The group is in talks for future collaboration with an American counterpart that includes telecom supplier Cisco Systems and chipmaker Intel.

    Shares of 5G patents owned by Japanese developers have fallen behind the likes of South Korea’s Samsung Electronics and U.S. player Qualcomm. NTT Docomo holds about 6% of 5G patents, compared with roughly 10% for Qualcomm and China’s Huawei Technologies.

    The internal affairs ministry aims for Japan to command at least a 10% share in 6G patents together with a slice of 30% or more in equipment and software.

    2. US and Japan to invest $4.5bn in next-gen 6G race with China – Open-RAN to enable communication less dependent on 5G leaders like Huawei (BUT OPEN RAN IS TARGETED AT 4G/5G – NOT 6G)

    U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga have agreed to jointly invest $4.5 billion for the development of next-generation communication known as 6G, or “beyond 5G.”

    The two countries will invest in research, development, testing, and deployment of secure networks and advanced information and communications technology, according to a fact sheet released after the two leaders met in Washington on Friday.

    “The United States has committed $2.5 billion to this effort, and Japan has committed $2 billion,” it said.

    The call for “secure and open” 5G networks, including advancing Open Radio Access Networks (Open-RAN), reflects the leaders’ intent of creating an alternative to a China-led communications network.

    Open-RAN is an open-source platform where network operators can mix and match hardware from different vendors, without having to own entire systems of antennas and base stations.

    As of now, Chinese companies such as Huawei Technologies and ZTE hold a roughly 40% share of base stations. European players Eriksson and Nokia, as well as South Korea’s Samsung Electronics are the other heavyweights, together accounting for a 90% market share. American and Japanese enterprises lag behind.

    In terms of 5G patents, U.S. leader Qualcomm owns roughly 10% — on par with Huawei — but Japan’s top player NTT Docomo only has about 6%.

    The Chinese leadership under President Xi Jinping gained confidence after catching up with advanced countries in the 5G development race. Now it is determined to repeat the success in sixth-generation technology. The new five-year plan adopted at the National People’s Congress, China’s parliament, in March also included the development of 6G.

    Japanese government officials lament the country’s late start in the 5G race. “Even if we had better technology, we couldn’t win the race to win market share,” one official said.

    To avoid the same mistake, Tokyo is determined to play on the international field from the get-go in 6G. With a goal to elevate Japan’s share of patents to 10%, a joint industry-government-academia organization was set up late last year.

    Japan believes that global standards setting will be crucial to the development of next-gen communications, and therefore sees cooperation with the U.S. to help in this regard.

    One of the goals stated in the fact sheet is to extend the U.S.-Japan cooperation on communications to “third-countries” to promote secure connectivity. Adding partners to the U.S.-Japan led initiative should help in the competition with China to set global standards.

    The fact sheet also advocated cooperation on sensitive supply chains, including semiconductors. Here the response in the Japanese industry is divided.

    One official at a chipmaker welcomed the announcement, saying that if the governments prepare subsidies to strengthen supply chains in like-minded countries, it could bring down the cost to establish facilities inside Japan.

    But an official at a chip-manufacturing equipment maker said, “if the U.S. expands sanctions on China, it will be difficult to grow our business in China,” which is a major market for Japanese equipment makers.

    Yuichi Koshiba, managing director and partner at Boston Consulting Group in Tokyo, said extensive government intervention in the chip market would have a negative effect on the industry. “Governments should not try to control global supply chains to fit their own country’s interests,” he said.

    1. That is a fascinating summary of the Japanese “Beyond 5G” perspective, Alan. It is intriguing that the number one Japanese 5G patent holder is a service provider, while the U.S. and China’s leading 5G patent holders are semiconductor and equipment makers, respectively.

  3. Stephane Teral of Light Counting via email on June 16, 2021:

    1. LTE technically is not 4G according to the IMT2000 set of radio technologies, therefore we should still say LTE networks, not 4G

    2. As LTE-Advanced is the true 4G, we still have a long way to go to live in a 4G world

    3. 5G rollouts are moving fast, roughly half of the world’s total 4G commercial networks, but they are NSA, which means anchored into LTE and therefore act like “4G on steroids” at best

    4. There are only 8 5G SA so far, meaning true 5G


    It’s 5Geopolitics that led to this situation; 5G is totally politicized and the discussion has shifted to 6G. From the below chart, we are heading toward a 4G redux: calling 6G what will be the true 5G. Or we’ll call 6G all the stuff overpromised with 5G that will never be delivered. Remember in 2010, many calling HSPA+ =4G?

  4. Megatrends towards IMT for 2030 and beyond, South Korea contribution to ITU-R WP5D, 24 Sept 2021:

    Applications and services enabled by future wireless communication technology will connect not only humans, but also machines and various things altogether. With advances in new human-machine interfaces such as extended reality (XR) displays, haptic sensors and actuators, e-smell and e-taste, and brain interfaces, connected humans can enjoy truly immersive experiences that are virtually generated or happening remotely. On the other hand, connected machines are intelligent and have been automated so that they can move ultra-fast and ultra-precise as intended through advances in machine perception, robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI). In a real physical world, such humans and machines will continuously interact with each other, working with a digital world that extends the real world by using a great number of advanced sensors. Such a digital world not only replicates but also affects the real world by providing virtual experiences to humans and computed control to machines. These systems are required to be trustworthy and at the same time allow significant amounts of computing split distributed across networks and devices. To interconnect the digital and physical world, future IMT systems need to play an important infrastructural role: 1) collect real-time sensory data everywhere in the physical world, 2) compute real-time controls of automated machines and immersive senses for humans, and 3) deliver this data back to the physical world so that humans and machines can continuously interact with each other.

    The development of the future networks and system heralds applications that go far beyond the user and vertical centric applications of current and former network systems. To address the growing societal concerns of the sustainability of the environment and society, the future network system is expected to help reduce the digital divide. Extreme performance and global service coverage will be needed to empower the underserved and bridge the digital divide virtual-realistic remote experiences as well as provide means to monitor and counter-act current and impending environmental challenges. Connected intelligence and network of networks will enable operations to be optimized for sustainable performance.

    It is also expected that future networks and systems will be a mixture of the physical, biological and digital representation in every spatial and time instant, unifying human experience across these aspects. New themes are likely to emerge that will shape the future system requirements and technologies, such as:
    a) new human–machine interfaces created by a collection of multiple local devices acting in unison;
    b) ubiquitous computing distributed among end devices, base stations, edges and the cloud;
    c) multi-sensory data fusion to create multi-verse maps and new mixed-reality experiences;
    d) precision sensing and actuation to understand and control the physical world.
    e) mega constellation of VLEOs and drones integrated with terrestrial networks to provide ubiquitous high quality mobile broadband services.

    With rapid advances in Artificial Intelligence, it has the potential to become the foundation for systems and network in the future, making data, computation and energy the new resources to be exploited for achieving superior performance.

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