1 min read

Japan’s 6G Advancement Spurs Global Race, COAI Backs India’s Vision

As Japan introduces an innovative prototype showcasing the immense capabilities of 6G technology, the global competition for next-generation wireless networks is heating up. This development presents a significant challenge for India, prompting a reassessment of its 6G strategy to address both international competition and domestic needs.

The unveiling of a wireless device capable of achieving unprecedented data transfer speeds of 100 Gbps, purportedly 500 times faster than 5G at its peak, underscores the urgency for India to adjust its approach in leveraging the transformative potential of 6G.

Developed through collaboration between Japan’s telecommunications leader NTT, mobile operator DOCOMO, and electronics companies NEC and Fujitsu, the prototype utilizes high-frequency bands in the 100 GHz and 300 GHz range. This breakthrough technology opens doors to various possibilities, facilitating data transfer rates conducive to streaming multiple high-definition movies simultaneously.

On the global stage, countries like South Korea, China, as well as North American and European nations, are forging ahead with ambitious 6G initiatives, signaling a new era of connectivity and innovation. However, India’s position in this landscape remains a question.

Lt Gen Dr SP Kochhar, Director General of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), highlighted the importance of aligning with international standards to achieve leadership in 6G, as outlined in India’s Bharat 6G Vision released last year. This vision document identifies key research pathways pursued globally, relevant for fostering innovation in the Indian context.

Dr. Kochhar emphasized the need for research on the equipment/device ecosystem, a task requiring collaboration with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Notably, OEMs like Nokia and Ericsson are establishing 6G labs in India, facilitating groundbreaking research and development.

The challenge extends beyond technological advancement to identifying commercially viable applications—a lesson learned from the 5G rollout. Dr. Kochhar stressed the importance of initiating work on identifying suitable applications, a global effort currently underway in various countries and industries.

India’s 6G Vision document envisions a future characterized by hyper-connectivity and enhanced experiences, driving societal transformation. Key research pathways include exploring new spectrum bands, leveraging AI and machine learning, integrating space-based assets, and developing innovative user interfaces. The vision aims to bridge the digital divide and empower rural communities, addressing socio-economic disparities.

Additionally, the document outlines India’s vision to design and build its own 6G devices based on global standards, network expectations, and use cases. It proposes an inside-out approach involving the development of silicon-level IPs, interfaces, and chips, with strategic ownership of critical components and applications.

However, the document acknowledges current R&D funding challenges, particularly the neglect of 5G and 6G modem chipsets. It calls for significant funding over ten years to support research on these modem chipsets, system components, and new technologies essential for 6G devices.

Regarding the 6G rollout timeline, Dr. Kochhar anticipates no major changes, with commercial rollout projected around 2030. While experimental setups may emerge periodically, standardized 6G products ready for rollout with specific applications may not materialize before 2030.

Leave a Reply