Nokia announced that it is leading the Hexa-X project, the European Commission’s 6G flagship initiative for research that will drive the overall vision for not-yet-standardized 6G.
The project goals include creating unique 6G use cases and scenarios, developing fundamental 6G technologies and defining a new architecture for an intelligent fabric that integrates key 6G technology enablers.
The Hexa-X project has been awarded funding from the European Commission under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.
Other members of the project include Ericsson, which will act as the technical manager of the project, Atos, Intel, Orange, Siemens, TIM and Telefonica.
The Finnish vendor noted that the Nokia Bell Labs is already researching the fundamental technologies that will comprise 6G. Nokia expects 6G systems to launch commercially by 2030, following the typical 10-year cycle between mobile generations.
“Even though there is still a lot of innovation in 5G with the release of new standards, we are already exploring 6G in our research lab,” said Peter Vetter, head of access and devices research, Nokia Bell Labs. “In the 6G era we will see applications that will not only connect humans with machines but also connect humans with the digital world. Such a secure and private connection can be used for preventive healthcare or even to create a 6G network with a sixth sense that intuitively understands our intentions, making our interactions with the physical world more effective and anticipating our needs, thereby improving our productivity.”
The Hexa-X project is expected to starts on January 1, 2021, with a planned duration of 30 months.
Initial 6G networks could be deployed in 2028, while mass commercialization of this technology will occur in 2030, according to a white paper released by Samsung Electronics.
Earlier this year, the government of South Korea said it aims to launch a pilot project for not-yet-standardized 6G mobile services in 2026. The Korean government expects 6G services could be commercially available in Korea between 2028 and 2030.
The government’s strategy for 6G consists of preemptive development of next-generation technologies, securing standard and high value-added patents, and laying R&D and industry foundations. The government of Korea reportedly expects to invest a total of KRW 200 billion (currently $184 million) between 2021 and 2026 period to secure basic 6G technology.
The government selected five major areas for the pilot project: digital healthcare immersive content, self-driving cars, smart cities and smart factories.
The Japanese government had also announced plans to put together a comprehensive strategy regarding future 6G wireless communications networks
Also, the Chinese government officially started researching 6G technology in November of last year. According to reports by Chinese state media, government ministries and research institutes had initial meetings with the aim of establishing a national 6G technology research and development group. The Ministry of Science and Technology said that it will set up two working groups to carry out the 6G research activities.
Finland is also among the first countries in the world to kick off research on future 6G technologies.
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