ZTE, China Unicom

ZTE and China Unicom announce 6G collaboration

26 May 2020 | Melanie Mingas

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ZTE and China Unicom are to collaborate on 6G technological innovation and standards while “actively promoting the in-depth integration” of 6G with satellite networks, IoT, the Internet of Vehicles, and the Industrial IoT.

The Chinese telcos have set a series of performance targets including a peak data rate of 1 Tbps, a user experienced data rate of 20 Gbps, and a volume traffic capacity of 100Gbps/m3.

The development, made in a joint announcement from China Unicom and ZTE, will see both sides “jointly explore the prospect and technical trends of 6G, in a bid to achieve the strategic and coordinated development of both parties”.

While their statement was light on specific detail, it did say research would focus on three-dimensional connectivity, Terahertz communication and integrated communication and sensing.

The statement read: “Based on the experience and technological accumulation of large-scale commercial networks, China Unicom and ZTE will contribute more and stronger innovative technologies to promote the long-term evolution of 6G networks.”

Research into 6G started in Finland in 2018, at the University of Oulu, close to the Arctic Circle, with an initial €50 million budget for the first two years. Then earlier this year, the European Commission detailed plans to overhaul its industrial sector with a number of investments in new technologies, including 6G.

In a leaked report, and on the subject of 6G, the EU said it is working towards a “strategic European partnership” that will involve research and innovation in the field of “smart networks and services beyond 5G/towards 6G” all of which will involve member states reinforcing their “European leadership in network technologies”.

In China, 6G developments started to gain pace in 2019 with a number of universities and telcos active in the field.

Speaking at the 6G Wireless Summit earlier this year, ZTE’s Dr. Fang Min, said for the 6G network to be commercialised in 2030, “intelligently connected Physics and Digital World will re-configure the world completely”.

“The Internet of Sense, the Internet of AI and the Internet of Industry will open the new windows of new services, which may be born in the 6G era. These new services in the 6G era will exert more challenging requirements on the key performance indicators (KPIs) of 6G networks,” Min added.