A US telecoms standards association called on the government to step-up action around development of technologies with potential to deliver 6G, arguing an early start would be crucial to securing a leading global position.

The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) said the government should partner with the industry and academic experts, with research focused on key areas including AI-powered networks and services; advanced antenna and radio systems; multi-access network services; and healthcare and agriculture.

ATIS urged US officials to offer funding and tax incentives for relevant R&D, and said a national spectrum policy was needed. Local authorities have a part to play by creating regional innovation zones, it stated.

The body noted “defining a core set of technologies” could deliver national benefits.

Mike Nawrocki, VP of technology and solutions, added work on potential 6G technologies “must be amplified now” to ensure the US leads key areas including telehealth, smart agriculture, distance learning, digital commerce and AI.

The call to action comes as momentum around a potential 6G technology grows. China Unicom and ZTE today (20 May) detailed plans to work together to steer development, while Japanese authorities in January also began making noise around the idea, The Japan Times reported.

US President Donald Trump also got in on the action, in February 2019 citing a notion of 6G as one element necessary to maintain the nation’s future standing.