The Chinese Reign On 6G Patents
Technological advancement is acquiring significant importance as a key to the development of nations. Competition is rife and the verdict is yet to be out on who is the frontrunner in the race to more advanced technology. Amongst other developments, the one which has caught everyone’s fancy is the 6G tech.
The next step in mobile communication technology, 6G is set to follow 5G a well prove to be better and faster. In this global race to master the 6th Generation tech, nations are continually innovating at a rapid pace.
As per recent reports, China seems to be at the helm of affairs and is speculated to reign supreme. Below we discuss the efforts being made by China, the USA, and Japan, the three top contenders in the realm of 6G developments.
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6G in China
China leads the 6G patents race with a 40.3% share in global patent filings. Its emphasis is on building a formidable mobile infrastructure technology. It is proactively pursuing research and development and setting world standards in 6G. These initiatives also find a place in the country’s 14th five-year plan (from 2021-2025), which envisages a new digital blueprint and sharpens the focus on 6G.
China has had immense success in the past with 3G, 4G and 5G technologies. In the 3G era, China managed to establish one of the three globally recognised standards. Similarly, with 4G China championed one of the 2 global standards. When it comes to the 5G technology, the country claims to have the largest mobile infrastructure.
In recent news about 6G in China, the Chinese research team is said to have achieved a 6G-level wireless transmission speed of 206.25 gigabits per second for the first time in a closed environment.
This has wide-ranging implications not just on data speed but also in reducing the enormous costs and power consumption occurring due to a large number of cables in data centers. The finding could lead to the development of high-speed wireless access that can replace fiber optic cables. This also ends the debate around does China have 6G?
While China did suffer a setback when tech giant Huawei was slapped with sanctions by the USA over security breaches, it seems undeterred and continues to break new barriers in research. A new initiative called “Made in China 2025” prioritises producing next-gen communication technology and equipment in-house to reduce dependency. Government-led research is proving a boon for China which is seeking collaborations not just with tech companies but with universities as well.
A number of companies, policymakers, and academics in the USA are working to secure leadership for the country in 6G. Companies like Intel and Qualcomm have patented chips that will be used for mobile phones and computer hardware equipment.
A new alliance called the Next 6 Alliance has been initiated by the country to boost research and counter the 6G in China threat. The primary goal is to quicken the pace of the 5G rollout and simultaneously advance wireless technology leadership. The private sector has been roped in to aid in the achievement of this goal.
Members include major U.S. carriers, device vendors, hyperscalers, and tech companies. Nokia, Google, Samsung, Facebook etc. are already a part of this burgeoning alliance. A roadmap to 6G has been released by the Alliance which encompasses R&D, manufacturing, standardization, and market readiness.
With a share of 9.9% in global 6G filings, Japan comes a far third after the USA which secured a 35.2% share. Nonetheless, the country has made significant leaps in the 6G research under its “Beyond 5G” program. The program aims to advance the features of 5G, offer disruptive innovation, and strengthen Japan’s international competitiveness.
It is led by Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and members include notable universities and companies like Soft Bank Group, NTT, Toyota Motor, Panasonic etc. Besides developing, advancing, and standardizing a spectrum of technologies across sectors like quantum tech, AI, networks etc., international collaborations are also being promoted.
In 2021, Japan signed a joint research agreement with Finland to accelerate the development of communications technology. It has also partnered with the U.S. under the US-Japan Competitiveness and Resilience (CoRe) Partnership Agreement to work on a range of issues, most notable being 5G and 6G. Japanese companies Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) and DOCOMO have announced their association with Fujitsu, NEC, and Nokia to conduct 6G trials in order to release the technology by 2030.
Various countries worldwide are working towards making 6G a reality for the myriad benefits it promises for their citizens and the planet. Recently, The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which is the specialised UN body for information and communication technologies, unveiled a plan to begin the setting of 6G standards by 2024.
The rate of Chinese progress in the field is certain to once again give them strong control over the proceedings. Of course, this will not go down well with countries like the U.S. and Japan who are eager to limit China’s rising dominance.
Meanwhile, the world eagerly awaits the advanced benefits 6G is likely to endow. There are myriad expectations in diverse fields like science & tech, medicine, manufacturing etc., about the innovative disruption that 6G will bring with it. All eyes are now on the leading players who will make this possible!
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