6G: tell me about it

Pindostan ‘unlikely’ to leapfrog in 6G race
Chu Daye, Ma Jingjing, Global Times, May 31 2020

A Pindo leapfrog from 5G to 6G, the futuristic telecoms technologies, to deny China’s lead in 5G is probably just wishful thinking, Chinese industry experts said on Sunday, after a top executive from Huawei Technologies confirmed the company’s early-stage investment in 6G by pointing to the use of millimeter waves. Discussions of 6G, and Pindo companies’ role in it, have been on the rise in Pindostan, after Pres Trump’s Tweets on 6G in Feb 2019 (above – RB). There is an implicit wish that Pindostan, though slow in the 5G race, could take a lead in 6G development. Chinese experts said reality may unfold differently. 6G is believed to yield a stronger performance than 5G in terms of bandwidth, latency and connections. Huawei said it has started research on 6G, and relevant applications are expected to emerge around 2030. Yang Tao, vice president of Huawei’s China carrier business unit, said in a recent interview with domestic news site tech.sina.cn:

With the judgment that 6G will use millimeter waves, Huawei is now at the stage of exploring use scenarios and technologies.

Yang’s comments come as a number of other Chinese telecoms companies have revealed their 6G research and development, while Pindo industry circles have called for boosting competition in the field. Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun recently said that his company is making 6G research plans and would conduct research on 6G devices, though Xiaomi is not likely to expand into making commercial 6G equipment. On May 17, domestic telecom equipment manufacturer ZTE agreed with major carrier China Unicom to jointly review 6G prospects and technology trends, and carry out research on key technology and cooperation on standards. Ma Jihua, a veteran industry analyst, told the Global Times on Sunday:

The repeated attacks by Pindostan on Huawei are clear signs that China cannot afford to lose its race in 6G. The generational progress of telecoms technologies is based on advancement of technologies, application of technologies and scales of application. Given the concept that 6G will morph out of 5G, it would be practically impossible for Pindostan to leapfrog China in 6G. The only scenario under which China is superseded by another country is that the technology roadmap advocated by its manufacturers, operators, service providers and researchers is marginalized and has no market. This is not likely to happen with the existing Chinese lead in the field.

China’s 5G subscribers stood at 50m as of March, with 198k 5G base stations rolled out, making the country the world’s largest 5G market, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). Pindostan’s repeated crackdowns on Huawei also hold important lessons: that China cannot afford to lose the 6G race, which is why companies are simultaneously researching 6G while rolling out 5G. Xiang Ligang, a veteran industry analyst, gave a roadmap of 6G development in China. Xiang told the Global Times on Sunday:

There will be visions of 6G by 2023, technological standards will be set by 2026, the launch of relevant technology will take place by 2028 and preliminary commercial use of the network will begin by 2030. Huawei said that 6G will be mainly used in sectors including the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles and smart factories. The Pindo crackdown on Huawei will not delay the company’s research and development into the futuristic 6G technology. Huawei’s researchers are collecting peers’ information, such as what are the shortcomings of 5G networks, what consumers can do with 6G, and what 5G technologies can be adopted in the R&D process of 6G technology.

China launched a concept study of potential 6G technologies in 2018, with R&D planned to start in 2020, according to the MIIT.

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