The European Commission (EC) appointed Nokia to oversee Hexa-X, a flagship 6G research project which aims to drive the continent’s work around developing the technology.

In a statement, Nokia explained it would serve as project lead for Hexa-X, which has been awarded funding from the EC under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Nokia explained the goal was to create unique use cases and scenarios, developing fundamental technologies and defining a new architecture for an “intelligent fabric that integrates key 6G technology enablers”.

It further aims to bring together key industry stakeholders in Europe to advance the technology, with participation from network vendors, operators, verticals, technology providers and European communications research institutes.

These include fellow vendor Ericsson, and operators Orange, Telecom Italia and Telefonica.

The project will begin on 1 January 2021, with a planned duration of two-and-a-half years.

2030 launch
Nokia highlighted its work in commercialising previous generations of mobile technology, with industrial research arm Nokia Bell Labs playing a key role in the development of 4G and 5G.

The Finnish vendor added it expects 6G to launch commercially by 2030, following the typical ten-year cycle between generations and in line with projections by other industry players at the 6G Symposium event in October.

Peter Vetter, head of access and devices research at Nokia Bell Labs noted there was still “a lot of innovation in 5G with the release of new standards”, but the company was already exploring 6G in its laboratories.

“In the 6G era we will see applications that will not only connect humans with machines but also connect humans with the digital world,” he said.