Recently, news about the 6G development process of various countries has spread frequently. Some Korean media reported that Samsung conducted a sixth-generation communications (6G) experiment in the United States; Xinhua News Agency reported that the United States took the lead in forming a “6G” alliance to isolate China. Today, when 5G has not yet become popular, countries have already begun to deploy, and the 6G competition is surging.
At present, all countries are seizing the opportunity of 6G and want to gain a leading position in 6G. So far, what layout have all countries made for 6G?
Why is 6G important?
6G, the sixth-generation mobile communication standard, is also known as the sixth-generation mobile communication technology. 6G integrates terrestrial wireless and satellite communications, uses the transmission capacity of the terahertz frequency band, which is 1000 times bps higher than that of 5G, and the network delay is also reduced from milliseconds to microseconds. However, the current international initiative to formulate 6G technical standards has not yet started, and it is expected to begin around 2024.
Judging from the history of the development of each generation of communication technology, mastering the customization rights of communication standards will occupy more advantages in economic development. For example, 2G is preferentially adopted by European countries; Japan has mature 3G technology at the beginning of the 21st century; the United States dominated the 4G technology market in 2011; China has a leading position in 5G.
It is not difficult to see that as the next generation of mobile communication technology, the changes brought about by 6G are unimaginable, so many countries have already invested in 6G technology research.
Striving to be the first South Korea
Samsung recently launched a 6G test in the United States, and it applied for a test frequency license of 133 to 145 GHz to the United States Unicom Communications Commission (FCC). In June of this year, Samsung has passed the world’s first 6G prototype system test.
It can be said that South Korea has already started its 6G layout. From the perspective of the layout of 5G, at present, with the launch of 5G commercial services in South Korea, it has taken South Korea two years to increase the penetration rate of its 5G use to more than 20%. According to a report released by RootMetrics, 5G availability in Seoul can reach 95.2%, far exceeding New York (74.1%), London (43.7%) and Zurich (45.6%). It can be seen that South Korea is in the lead in the 5G network layout.
When it comes to 6G, South Korea also does not want to lose the initiative in communications. South Korea has proposed a future mobile communications research and development strategy leading the 6G era, and plans to launch 6G pilot projects in 2026 and realize 6G commercial use in 2028, and wants to become the world’s first 6G commercial country.
The timetable proposed by South Korea is two years faster than the US and Japan’s plans for commercial use in 2030. In response, South Korea directly announced that it will invest 220 billion won (about 1.25 billion yuan) in 6G research and development in the next five years.
At present, South Korea’s R&D success is quite effective. In August this year, the South Korean company LG also announced the successful use of 6G in the terahertz frequency band for data transmission, with a test distance of more than 100 meters.
In addition to the Samsung 6G test mentioned above, this test is to confirm whether Samsung can use 6G smart phones to communicate with the base station for medium and long distances. If the test is successful, it will be a great improvement.
U.S. 6G big move
When it comes to the development of 6G, the United States cannot be avoided. Due to the rapid development of China’s 5G, the United States hopes to establish its leading position in the 6G era.
There is a saying in communication technology, “Communication generation, R&D generation.” The United States, which wants to establish a leading position, first looked forward to the development of 6G technology at the 2018 Mobile World Congress in the United States. An American commissioner put forward three major categories of key technologies for 6G wireless technology, covering the three major aspects of 6G spectrum, how to achieve 6G wireless “ultra-large capacity”, and how to innovate in the use of 6G spectrum.
By 2020, the United States has led the formation of the Next G alliance. The strategic tasks of the alliance include establishing a 6G strategic roadmap, promoting 6G related policies and budgets, and the global promotion of 6G technologies and services. The United States has joined dozens of information and communication industry giants such as Apple, Intel, Qualcomm, and Samsung, while Chinese companies have been excluded.
By 2021, the pace of the 6G deployment in the United States has become even more urgent. The United States has not only established alliances between giant companies, but has also begun to look for cooperation with other countries. In April this year, the United States and Japan announced a joint investment of US$4.5 billion for the research and development of 6G-related technologies.
And in conjunction with South Korea, it is hoped that South Korea and the United States will fully occupy the commanding heights of the core technology of 6G communications. The Korea Institute for Information and Communication Planning and Evaluation also signed a memorandum of understanding on joint research on 6G with the National Science Foundation of the United States.
It can be seen that for the development of 6G, the U.S. will adopt a joint approach.
Another way of Japan
Japan is the first country in the world to introduce a 6G national strategy. Japan’s vision for 6G is to complete the research and development of the main 6G technologies in 2025; to start 6G trials by 2027; and to officially use 6G technologies in 2030. The proportion of global patents has increased from 5.5% to 10%; at the same time, infrastructure and software can be increased from 2% to 30%.
Under the leadership of Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, universities and NTT, the “Beyond 5G Promotion Alliance” was established. The main members of the Beyond 5G Promotion Alliance include several Japanese telecommunications companies, operators and SoftBank Group. In addition to the 4.5 billion cooperation with the United States mentioned earlier, Japan has also signed a 6G communications technology cooperation agreement with Finland, and Finnish communications giant Nokia will also participate.
Professor Matti Latva-aho of Finland’s 6G Flagship Program said: “Japan’s wireless mobile technology is in the leading position in the world. Finland is very happy to expand cooperation with Japan in the development of 6G, and promote each other’s success in market competition. Japan early spring this year Decided to invest US$2 billion in 6G technology development, which will promote further cooperation.”
Not limited to Latin American alliances and cooperation, Japan has also set its sights on “new technologies.”
The Japanese communications giant NTT proposed for the first time that the network transmission of semiconductors was changed to photonics from the previous Electronic, and the communication platform “IOWN” (Innovative Optical and Wireless Network), which uses self-developed optical transmission technology, wants to promote optical transmission to become an international standard.
The president of NTT believes that not only in communications and IT, if the new generation of communications platforms can be popularized, then from the perspective of greenhouse gas emission reduction rate, its contribution can reach 4% of Japan’s overall.
For NTT’s idea, Intel will provide collaboration in semiconductor research using photonic technology, and Sony will combine its own sensing technology with IOWN’s ultra-low latency communication technology to jointly study entertainment experience.
China’s 6G patents lead the way
While the United States continues to win over the alliance and wants to squeeze out China on the road of 6G development, China is also constantly working towards 6G.
Ren Zhengfei once explained the reason why Huawei “focused on 5G while desperately researching 6G” inside Huawei. “We study 6G to take precautions and seize the patent position. Don’t wait until one day when 6G is really useful, we are constrained by others because we don’t have patents.”
The biggest difference between 6G and 5G is that 6G will add satellite network and terrestrial terahertz base station technology on the basis of 5G network. At present, my country is the first country in the world to verify the application of terahertz communication in space. In November, we launched the first 6G test satellite. The “University of Electronic Science and Technology” carried the Long March 6 Yaosan carrier successfully in the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center. Take off to test potential 6G transmission radio waves.
Recently, Nikkei reported that after analyzing the number of core patent applications for 6G, the number of patents of Chinese companies accounted for 40.3%; followed by American companies, reaching 35.2%; Japan’s 9.9% ; Europe is 8.9%; South Korea is 4.2%. These core patent applications include 20,000 patents in 6G-related fields, including communications technology, base station technology, and artificial intelligence. In terms of the number of patent applications, my country has more obvious advantages.
In fact, in 2018, the China Communications Standards Association put forward the vision and requirements for 6G and initiated research on key technologies of 6G. In 2019, the Ministry of Science and Technology of China announced the establishment of a national 6G technology research and development promotion working group and an overall expert group. The responsibility is to promote the implementation of 6G technology research and development. By June this year, the 6G promotion group issued the “6G overall vision and potential key Technology” white paper.
At present, Huawei has established a 6G R&D laboratory in Ottawa, Canada, and has begun to develop 6G technology, and is advancing side by side with 5G. Wang Xiang, senior vice president of ZTE, publicly stated in September 2020 that ZTE’s scientific research team has begun research and development in the direction of 6G networks.
At the same time, Tsinghua University and China Mobile stated in 2020 that they will jointly carry out research in key areas such as 6G-oriented future mobile communication networks, next-generation Internet and mobile Internet, industrial Internet, and artificial intelligence.
China will never be absent from 6G research and development.
6G, start quietly
At present, the 6G formulation standard has not been finalized, and all countries are seizing the opportunity of 6G development. The large-scale commercialization of 5G has only just started, and it will probably take nearly 10 years for 6G to actually be applied. At present, most countries are still in the early stage of early strategic goal formulation and early exploration by scientific research institutions, and the real competition has not yet begun.
Wang Zhiqin, vice president of China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, stated at a 6G seminar that in the future, 6G will follow three principles. First, the successful commercialization of 5G is a prerequisite for the development of 6G; second, 6G is integration innovation; third, cellular mobile communication technology is still The main body of 6G will form an integrated system with aerospace technologies such as satellites.
Whether it is the United States, which is wooing giants, Japan, which is blazing a new trail, or South Korea, which is striving to be the first, it is very important for every country to take the initiative in 6G. China, which has an advantage in 5G, is also steadily moving towards 6G step by step.