LIVE FROM MWC21 LOS ANGELES: GSMA Intelligence head Peter Jarich (pictured) outlined highlights from a recent survey spotlighting investment in 6G research by global operators and vendors.

Around 10 per cent of operators globally reported running a 6G R&D programme, with the same having discussed the potential next-generation technology with vendors.

In North America, 40 per cent of operators reported running a research programme, with 30 per cent having held vendor talks.

“To think about North America on the forefront probably would not be unfair,” Jarich summarised.

Data on operators’ 6G priorities showed security at the top of the heap, with calls for more beefy protection than in 5G.

Lower costs and higher capacity were also named.

Jarich reported “sustainability was the number one network transformation priority that came out when we surveyed operators”.

Improving the customer experience and generating new revenue were more important drivers of network transformation than cost savings, Jarich added.

Respondents highlighted integration challenges around open RAN as the top challenge operators face in introducing the approach, followed by network security and administrative issues.

Jarich noted there are also some internal obstacles.