Industry leaders call for enhanced 6G research amid rising global competition
Published: Aug 10, 2022 09:30 PM
A concept photo of 6G technology Illustration: VCG

A concept photo of 6G technology Illustration: VCG

Chinese telecommunications industry leaders have called for increased research on 6G with independent capabilities and industrial chains based on notable achievements in 5G, as global competition for the next generation network technology heats up and geopolitical risks are on the rise. 

Underscoring the rising urgency to study 6G and cement China's lead in 5G, 6G has become a hot topic for discussions at the ongoing 2022 World 5G Convention, which kicked off in Northeast China's Heilongjiang on Wednesday. 

Forward-looking research into 6G is of great significance to give full play to China's massive market advantages, build an industrial ecosystem and gain technological dominance, Zhang Ping, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said on the sidelines of the convention, according to a report on on Wednesday. 

Zhang said that 6G is crucial to a new round of technological innovation and industrial revolution, noting that the US, the EU, Japan, South Korea and other countries have been planning 6G in advance.

Metaverse, industrial internet and intelligent healthcare were also hot topics at the event that aims to enumerate the country's 5G development.      

As of June, China had built more than 1.85 million 5G base stations, accounting for 17.9 percent of the total number of mobile communication base stations nationwide. The number of 5G mobile users in China reached 455 million, and the number of 5G base stations and users in the country accounted for more than 60 percent of the world totals.

In view of these eye-catching achievements, experts have put at spotlight on the country's 6G development, with some predicting that 6G technology may be commercially available around 2030, as both the domestic and international industries are discussing and researching the standards of 6G.

"Global unified standards are the way to go for 6G, and also the direction of the entire industry's efforts," Wang Jun, vice president of Huawei's wireless network product line and chief scientist of 6G, said during the convention. 

Wang noted that the International Telecommunication Union will release the 6G vision next year to build a global consensus on 6G research, and within the next three to four years the industry will conduct research and verification of 6G technology.

Wang noted that almost all countries have made 6G a key strategy, with a lot of national funds invested in 6G research as well as talent training. However, due to geopolitical factors in recent years, protectionism and regional priorities emerged, which are unfavorable for open research. 

"In the international competitive environment, China must have independent research capabilities and an independent industrial chain," Wang added.

According to the China Internet Network Information Center, China has become the main source country for 6G patent applications. The number of global patent applications in the field of 6G communication technology has exceeded 38,000, of which China's accounted for 35 percent, ranking first in the world.

Enterprises are also accelerating their forward-looking stances on 6G. 

China Mobile has applied for more than 400 6G invention patents, and it has released 18 white papers on 6G technology independently. China Unicom said during its first-half results briefing on Monday that the company is actively laying out 6G key technology directions such as computing network integration, and network and information security, making reserves of 6G technology.

"6G will fully support the digital transformation of society and build a digital world. We should continue to maintain the globalization of 6G standards, carry out related technology research with more energy and increase innovation, with the concepts of openness and cooperation," said Wu Hequan, chairman of the Future Mobile Communications Forum.

Chen Shanzhi, deputy general manager of China Information and Communication Technologies Group Corp (CICT), said that the existing global mobile communication network only covers 20 percent of the land and 6 percent of the ocean, while 6G will achieve the integration of satellite communication and terrestrial mobile communication, using hundreds of low-orbiting satellites to achieve global wide area coverage.

Global Times