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Development goals high in priorities for 6G, says NGMN

Anita Dohler NGMN.jpg

Sustainability will be one of the key goals of the sixth generation of mobile networks, likely to be developed over the next few years for implementation at the end of the decade.

The Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance, which represents operators across the world, has set out “the imperative to safeguard the three fundamental needs facing the society at large” as high in its list as the industry develops 6G.

“With our future vision of 6G and the related NGMN work programme, we are committed to setting the global footprint and providing impactful guidance to the industry in developing 6G," said Anita Döhler (pictured), CEO of NGMN.

The organisation has published a white paper, 6G Drivers and Vision, setting out the priorities for the next generation.

The people who wrote the white paper come from China Mobile, US Cellular and Vodafone, with further contributions from Bell Canada, BT, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, NTT DoCoMo, Orange, PLDT Smart, TIM and Telus.

“We enable a unique collaboration among the NGMN partnership including operators, vendors and research organisations and external stakeholders,” said Döhler. Now, “the entire NGMN Alliance will work on use cases and end-to-end requirements. We invite interested industry players to join our endeavour for the benefit of the global ecosystem.”

The organisation said it is “set to take the lead in providing impactful guidance for global 6G activities to respond to the needs of end users, societies, mobile network operators and the ecosystem as a whole”.

Top of the list is societal goals, said NGMN. “Future technologies should contribute further to the success of a number of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) such as: environmental sustainability, efficient delivery of health care, reduction in poverty and inequality, improvements in public safety and privacy, support for ageing populations, and managing expanding urbanisation.”

But at the same time “there is a strong need to make the planning, deployment, operations, management and performance of the mobile operators’ networks more efficient”.

At the same time, “customer requirements need to be satisfied by offering new services and capabilities, supported by evolving technologies in a cost-effective manner”.

The white paper does not specify what those services and capabilities will be. However, it talks of “new human machine interfaces that extend the user experience across multiple physical and virtual platforms, sensing, and immersive mixed realities for a variety of use cases, including the use of large bandwidths in existing and new spectrum bands”.

And 6G should “advance enablement of seamless multi-access service continuity, using terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks, and provide coverage across land, sea, and sky, efficiently addressing any traffic and connection density”, says the white paper.

Artificial intelligence (AI) will be vital, to “develop an energy and cost-efficient structure that is highly scalable, flexible, and portable”. And the NGMN wants “harmonised and coordinated global standards and ecosystem” for 6G.