6G SYMPOSIUM: Afif Osseiran, director at Ericsson, suggested while most would scoff at the mere suggestion of 6G as early as 2019, there was now growing unity around a vision for the technology, as major industry players backed a launch in 2030.

In a virtual panel, Osseiran, who also serves as vice chairman of industry group 5G-ACIA, retold a story of how he moderated one of the first panels on 6G in early 2019, which he described as a “bit awkward”.

“People were throwing ideas on the table, and things were not really converging. It was all a bit ad-hoc.”

A year-and-a-half on, Osseiran believes the industry has come together, and developed a better understanding and a vision of what 6G will look like.

Among some of the blue-sky ideas, Ericsson believes the technology will be underpinned by a number of use cases including the internet of the senses; connected intelligent machines; a digitalised and programmable physical world; and a connected sustainable world.

He also spoke of the potential for limitless connectivity; trustworthy systems; cognitive networks; and a network compute fabric.

Get it right
T-Mobile US VP of technology development and strategy Karri Kuoppamaki, presented a more cautious tone around the growing 6G hype, highlighting that 5G was still in its early days in terms of use cases and adoption.

“I believe 5G has a long future ahead of it, and there’s a lot we can do to improve it further.”

He added there was no need to rush the next G, noting with 6G’s vision potentially being even broader than 5G, the focus should be on “getting it right”.

Kuoppamaki, however, noted now was the right time to start discussions around 6G.

“Why do we need 6G? It takes time to research and develop new technology and history has shown us we need a new generation roughly once every decade. So, with that, the time absolutely right to get R&D going on what might come next.”

Sunghyun Choi, SVP and head of advanced communications research centre at Samsung concurred with a launch in a decade, stating “everyone thinks 6G will be commercialised in 2030″.

Choi expects a major use case to centre on the use of 6G in machines, with the expectation some 500 billion will be connected by 2030, six-times more than the human population.

He backed uses in truly immersive XR, high fidelity mobile holograms and digital replicas, which would enable remote monitoring of robots using VR or holographic displays.