The world has barely started using 5G, and last week, China’s three major telecom companies launched commercial 5G services, but China is already looking ahead to 6G, while most of the world is still investing and upgrading their 3G and 4G networks.
Chinese government ministries and research institutes held a “kick-off” meeting at the beginning of this week to establish a national 6G technology research and development group, according to a report by the Science and Technology Daily, the official newspaper of the China’s Ministry of Science and Technology.
5G and 6G refer to the fifth and sixth generation of mobile wireless networks. 5G is known to have data transmission speeds at least 10 times greater than 4G, but it’s too early to say what the speed of 6G should be, or what sorts of technologies it would advance.
A chart that shows the development of network speeds from 1G to 6G
At the meeting, it was decided that there would be two 6G working groups. The first group will consists of government agencies responsible for policymaking, while the second group will consist of 37 experts from colleges, research academies and enterprises, who are expected to advise policymakers.
Wang Xi, Vice-Minister of Science and Technology said at the kickoff meeting that worldwide knowledge about 6G technologies is still in a very early stage and that there is no consensus over its definitions and applications.
Initial 6G research and development is expected to focus on intelligent mobile communications, massive wireless communications, millimeter wave/submillimeter wave wireless communications, optical wireless communications and broadband satellite mobile communications.
Because of the U.S. government’s blacklisting of Chinese technology companies, there is a strong possibility that there could be more than one standard for 5G technologies which would be a major setback for the seamless use of devices across networks.
Wang Xi, the vice minister of the science ministry also noted in his remarks that 6G technology should be treated as a priority at this “crucial stage” of the development of the nation and said that the ministry will start to draft a roadmap for developing 6G. Experts predict that 6G technologies will go into commercial operation by 2030.