China officially forms an R&D team to kick off 6G development

5G adoption has just started, but China already foresees 6G race.

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China’s Ministry of Science and Technology has set up a working group and an expert team to speed up the development of the sixth generation network (6G), gearing up for the new Internet revolution, state media ChinaNews reported.

During a meeting on Sunday, Wang Xi, the vice minister of the national technology bureau, said that China will give high attention to this innovation during a key period of development, although the research of 6G networks is still in an early phase globally and specifics of the technology haven’t been defined yet.

The new-established team, consisting of relevant government agencies and technology specialists, will have the task to roll out a plan for 6G research and development, in addition to explore its possible scientific feasibility.

The early move marks China’s ambitions to hold an upper hand in the future technology race.

The country has kicked off large-scale 5G commercialization since the end of October. Three main telecom companies—China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom—all started to offer 5G data packages to users, priced between USD 18 per month with a 30GB quota and USD 85 per month with a 300 GB quota. Besides, more than 80,000 5G base stations have been built by the end of September, KrASIA wrote.

Chinese tech conglomerate Huawei has also been working on 6G development, according to its CEO Ren Zhengfei.

“We have parallel work being done on 5G and 6G, so we started out 6G a long time ago,” he said on a panel held by CNBC.

Other countries and companies also want to gain an edge over competitors as soon as possible. Earlier in October, Japanese tech giant Sony, Japanese telecom carrier Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT), and US-based chipmaker Intel clinched a partnership over 6G technology to develop advanced semiconductors, these firms announced. Other forerunners include Finland’s Nokia, Sweden’s Ericsson and Qualcomm.

The 6G network is predicted to emerge around 2030, according to a 6G white paper, named “Key Drivers and Research Challenges for 6G Ubiquitous Wireless Intelligence,” released by the University of Oulu in Finland, which organized the first-ever 6G Wireless Summit in March.