Korea sees 6G in 2028 as it learns the lesson of 5G

Korea sees 6G in 2028 as it learns the lesson of 5G

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Korean operator SK Telecom has published a paper on the lessons learned from 5G for the development and rollout of the next generation 6G two years earlier than predicted.

The company expects 6G to roll out globally around 2030, but requires setting achievable goals and continuous communication with the market and consumers. The Korean government has a strategy to start rollout by 2028.  

“Efforts of all participants in the new ecosystem are required, such as expanding of usage scenarios, selecting candidate spectrums, vitalizing open interfaces, e.g., Open RAN, and simple architecture options, etc,” says the report.

The report looks at communication technology, AI, sensing technologies and services such as autonomous driving, XR, holograms and digital twins are being discussed, but points out it is essential to discover 6G killer services and devices.

6G is in its early stage, but major countries and companies have already started R&D, presenting visions and research results through technical forums and white papers. However it is essential to identify 6G products and services, to define simple architecture options, and to develop technologies for coverage expansion and for heat and power consumption to improve user experience.

5G lessons

The 5G Vision Recommendation was published in September 2015 by ITU-R and triggered the commercialization of 5G services in 2019. Although various goals have been achieved, it is also true that there are still many tasks that are far from achieving the goals even after 4 years after commercialization, says the report.

A variety of visionary services were expected, but there was no killer service. Even at the time when preparing for 5G, services such as autonomous driving, XR, hologram, and digital twin had appeared and expected, but most of them did not live up to expectations.

“We should have taken a more objective perspective,” says the company. “For example, whether 5G technology alone could change the future, or whether the overall environment constituting the service was prepared together. If so, the gap between the public’s expectations for 5G and the reality would not have been large. 3D video, UHD streaming, AR/VR, autonomous driving, remote surgery, etc. are representative services that are not still successful presented by the 5G Vision Recommendation. Most of them are the result of a combination of device form factor constraints, immaturity of device and service technology, low or absent market demand, and policy/regulation issues, rather than a single factor of the lack of 5G performance.

In the EU, research has been established since 2018 with the University of Oulu in Finland with Aalto University, the Finnish Technology Research Centre and Nokia forming the 6G Flagship.

The Hexa-X project is another EU privately led 6G mobile communications R&D group involving the EU and several European telecommunications companies including Ericsson, Nokia and Orange. The project aims to develop a vision for the technology and define key research challenges in areas such as wireless connectivity, energy efficiency and security. Hexa-X aims to develop 6G standard technology, vision, and core service model by 2030.

China has started 6G-related research since 2017 and has been conducting large-scale and aggressive national research under the leadership of the Ministry of Science and Technology. The China Academy of Information and Communication Technology, a part of the Ministry of Science and Technology, established the 6G promotion team, ‘IMT-2030’, and started research on core technologies for 6G communication infrastructure with the goal of commercializing the technology by 2030.

It ranks first in 6G patent share by country with 40%, beating the United States (35%) and Japan (10%).  which started 6G research in 2017, announced that it would launch 6G products for businesses and consumers in 2030 and 5.5G and 6G simultaneously within the next few years. It emphasized its 6G infrastructure vision through the Smart World 2030 Forum hosted in April 2022. In addition, Huawei is also working on 6G satellite communication research by launching a total of three low-orbit research satellites for communication experiments.

This year, the K-Network 2030 strategy in Korea was announced with the goal of 2028, which is two years earlier than the original plan for the commercialization of 6G. Currently, a preliminary feasibility study for R&D is underway, and the government plans to increase the national share of 6G standard patents to more than 30% through continuous support.

The 6G Forum, attended by about 150 experts from 44 industry, academia, and research institutes, will become the centre of cooperation in Korea, while serving as a catalyst for the development of new services converged with other industries and telecommunications.

Samsung Electronics set up it’s a 6G Research Team in 2019 and LG Electronics is concentrating on securing original technologies by establishing a R&D cooperation belt for 6G core technologies with Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute, KAIST, KRISS, and Keysight Technologies.


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