AT&T CTO Andre Fuetsch (pictured) outlined a vision of wireless technology with 100-times the capacity of 5G during the 6G Symposium, an online event.

Like 5G, 6G will push radio communications into higher frequency bands, Fuetsch said.

The technology “will push the spectrum envelope to the terahertz region, with throughputs 100-times that of 5G”.

He added the lower spectrum bands will continue to serve as “the backbone for wide area coverage”.

The next generation tech “is almost a decade away, but we need to start defining it now”, Fuetsch said noting AT&T’s leadership role in the Next G Alliance, a group which “intends to drive actions with governments and industry”.

Fuetsch said 6G will likely not be part of a 3GPP Release until “after Release 19 or 20”, and will not be commercialised until around 2030.

The line between the RAN and core will blur with 6G Fuetsch predicted, as these elements will be collocated in some instances.

He described 6G as a “network of networks”, including aerial access points, non-public networks and Wi-Fi integration. End points could include “screen-less skin-wearable devices”.

The promise of 6G is an “ambient internet of everything that brings intelligence to living and business environments”.

He called for more research into technologies to enable 6G, including volumetric spectrum sharing and efficiency, intermodulation interference, energy management, battery life and “further integration of software communities with standards and processes” to “allow for quicker testing of features”.

Fuetsch is the chair of the O-RAN Alliance. He stressed the need for open architectures, disaggregation of network elements, and interoperability as the industry moves towards the next generation of wireless technology.

He said AT&T’s strategy “is to adopt and implement open RAN as technology becomes available”.