The most popular 6G stories of 2021

  • Even with 5G still in its infancy, 6G demands attention
  • It attracted more attention than anticipated in 2021
  • Softbank, the NGMN and Samsung all feature in our most popular 6G articles

The mere mention of 6G can often result in rolling eyeballs and cynical smiles currently, but there’s no doubt it’s a topic that attracts a lot of attention and people want to read about it... In the past year, TelecomTV’s editorial coverage of 6G has been sporadic, yet it featured prominently in our rundown of 2021’s most popular articles (measured by page views), garnering more eyeballs than we had anticipated. 

Currently, of course, the coverage of 6G is all about R&D plans, academic endeavours and the funding of programs across the world as various nations/regions seek to be regarded as the ‘6G global leader’. And part of the conversation, of course, is how next generation open architectures might play a role in 6G. (Note: We’ve already run down our top Open RAN stories – you can read about those right here.)

So what were our most popular 6G articles? Drum roll please...

1. SoftBank outlines 12 challenges for 6G

2 August 2021: Japanese giant has been pumping funds into 6G research for years already, enabling it to identify already some of the key challenges facing the communications networking and services sector ‘beyond 5G’. SoftBank stressed that in addition to enhancing the high-speed connections, low latency and “massive device connectivity” capabilities expected during the 5G era, 6G needs to enable high reliability and much-improved energy efficiency... expect to hear a lot more about those two particular areas of focus during 2022 and beyond. Read the full story

2. What is 6G? The NGMN Alliance offers some foundational ideas

20 April 2021: Ah, the question that has been uttered both in curiosity and in exasperation during the past 12 months... sometimes expressed as ‘What the **** is 6G?’ The new-look Next Generation Mobile Network (NGMN) Alliance stepped in to help the industry get to grips with the ‘next generation’ by releasing a white paper to provide an outline of the debate around 6G. And it’s clear that plenty of people want to know! Read the full story

3. US and Japan team on Open RAN, 6G R&D

19 April 2021: Only weeks into his tenure, US President Joe Biden was rubbing shoulders and cementing relationships with key partners, and part of the mutual appreciation society formed by the US and Japan involved some joint proclamations around telecoms R&D, with a particular focus on 5G and two areas that are still nascent but offer real potential – 6G and Open RAN. And big bucks were being mentioned too – $4.5 billion in joint funding to figure out what comes ‘beyond 5G.’ The announcement showed clearly that the US and Japan are determined to provide the primary route to 6G and compete hard with China in this regard, though of course Europe also has aspirations to be the centre of 6G R&D, of which more shortly.... Read the full story.

4. Samsung’s mammoth investment plans include 5G/6G

27 August 2021: Japan is very clearly seeking to play a very prominent role in 6G, as it has done in the preceding mobile generations, and so too is it’s neighbour South Korea, courtesy of its progressive mobile operators and of course its home-grown global technology giant, Samsung. And this company is giant in every way... the company announced an overall three-year investment plan worth more than US$200 billion, with the focus in the telecoms sector on 5G and 6G. Next generation chip developments are at the heart of Samsung’s focus: “As the 4th industrial revolution is accelerating due to network technology innovation such as AI and 5G/6G, semiconductors are emerging as a core industry that influences the competitiveness of all industries including automobiles beyond IT, and the competition for hegemony between countries over semiconductors is getting fiercer,” noted Samsung. Read the full story.

5. Germany pumps €700 million into 6G R&D

16 April 2021: There might be plenty of activity underway in Asia-Pacific and North America, but Europe isn’t sitting back and watching – there’s plenty of activity across the region’s specialist university research facilities (think of the 6G Flagship at Finland’s University of Oulu and the work underway in the UK at the University of Surrey) and at ETSI and the NGMN of course, while Germany is keen to be at the heart of Europe’s 6G efforts. The country’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, or BMBF) allocated €700 million towards 6G R&D during the next five years, with an initial aim of creating “the basis for an innovation ecosystem for future communication technologies around 6G.” Germany’s Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek noted, “We have to think about the day after tomorrow now and help shape new key technologies and standards in communication technologies right from the start.” Read the full story.  

- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

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