Finnish, Japanese research groups announce alliance to boost ‘6G’ R&D

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The Finnish 6G Flagship research program coordinated by the University of Oulu and the Beyond 5G Promotion Consortium of the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications have signed an agreement for joint collaboration in the field of as-yet-unstandardized “6G” technologies.

The two parties agreed to cooperate in the research and development of future 6G technologies.

In addition, the goal of this partnership is to contribute significantly to the global standardization and regulatory development of 6G technology.

“Japan is a major global player in the development of wireless mobile technologies and it is in Finland’s interest to expand the cooperation to themes where mutual competitive advantage can be achieved for 6G development. The importance of the collaboration is underlined by Japan’s decision earlier this spring to invest $2 billion in the development of 6G technologies,” said Professor Matti Latva-aho, director of the 6G Flagship program.

Beyond 5G Promotion Consortium members include the University of Tokyo, NTT Docomo, KDDI, SoftBank Group and Rakuten Mobile.

6G Flagship is a research, development and innovation program funded by the Academy of Finland and the University of Oulu for the 2018−2026 period.

According to a report by Japanese news site Nikkei Asia, Finnish vendor Nokia will join the research activities.

The initial commercial deployments of 6G technology are forecast to take place between 2028 and 2029, according to global tech market advisory firm ABI Research.

The research firm also said it expects the first standards for 6G to be ready by 2026. 

Many other countries, including China, South Korea, the European Union, and the United States have also launched projects, programs, and alliances to shape the 6G framework and main business focus. In February, a 6G research project involving major European operators was announced, while U.S. carriers had previously committed to the Next G Alliance, a group established with the main goal of defining 6G technology.

Chinese vendor Huawei expects 6G technologies to hit the market by around 2030, the company’s rotating chairman, Eric Xu, previously said a Huawei global analyst conference.

“We think 6G will be on the market by around 2030, but we don’t really know what 6G is yet. Our industry expects to launch something that will contribute to businesses and consumers by around 2030, just like we have done for 4G and 5G,” Xu said.

The executive noted that Huawei is currently working to define the main specifications of 6G technology, adding that the company may release a 6G white paper soon. “We are working with other players in the industry to define what 6G actually is. Maybe in the near future, we will be launching our 6G white paper. We want to discuss with businesses and consumers about what 6G will look like. Driven by our vision and the possible definition of 6G, we are also researching basic science and cutting-edge technologies, aiming to realize the 6G that we define together.”

About Author

Juan Pedro covers Global Carriers and Global Enterprise IoT. Prior to RCR, Juan Pedro worked for Business News Americas, covering telecoms and IT news in the Latin American markets. He also worked for Telecompaper as their Regional Editor for Latin America and Asia/Pacific. Juan Pedro has also contributed to Latin Trade magazine as the publication's correspondent in Argentina and with political risk consultancy firm Exclusive Analysis, writing reports and providing political and economic information from certain Latin American markets. He has a degree in International Relations and a master in Journalism and is married with two kids.

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