Japan-based rivals NTT and KDDI agreed to jointly develop next-generation optical networks to prepare for 6G, pledging to promote open innovation with partners and push standardisation to spread photonics technology globally.

In a statement, KDDI explained the companies will research and develop high-capacity optical communication systems for domestic backbone transmission and submarine cable systems for long-distance transmission overseas.

KDDI argued the spread of data across society will accelerate in the 6G era, requiring a huge amount of information processing and making it “necessary to further expand the transmission capacity of existing information communication systems, increase the processing speed and reduce power consumption required for carbon neutrality”.

The standardisation work will focus on transmission methods for all-photonics networks to deliver high-speed and -quality; and standards for all-photonics networks in mobile communications and orchestration technology in the beyond 5G and 6G era.

Their activities will be based on the NTT-backed Innovative Optical and Wireless Network Global Forum, with the aim to standardise the technology in the ITU’s Telecommunication Standardisation sector.

KDDI is a major player in the global submarine cable sector.