China to continue leading standardization role in 6G mobile technology amid recent Chinese lab breakthrough

China will step up support for 6G research and development and “proactively participate in setting international standards” for the sixth-generation mobile communications technology, according to Beijing’s latest digital economy plan.

The State Council, China’s cabinet, released this new plan for the development of the digital economy on Wednesday, which was drawn up in accordance with the country’s 14th five-year plan from 2021 to 2025. The emphasis on 6G reinforces a directive similar policy issued last month by the Cyberspace Administration of China.

6G represents the next generation global mobile network technology to succeed 5G, which is still being rolled out in many countries around the world. China, which has the world’s largest internet and smartphone market, has also rolled out the largest 5G mobile infrastructure in the industry.

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China’s pro-6G digital economy plan marks its latest move to play a leading role in the development of advanced mobile technologies, following its success with 5G. In the 4G era, China championed one of two sanctioned global standards. The country was not involved in the development of 2G mobile telephony, but later pushed to establish one of three globally recognized standards for 3G.

The number of 6G patent applications has exceeded 38,000 globally, with China’s submissions accounting for more than 30 percent and ranking first among all countries, according to a report released last April by the National Administration of China Intellectual Property, also known as the country’s National Intellectual Property Administration. Patent Office.

Last week, a research team from state-backed Purple Mountain Laboratories achieved 6G-level wireless transmission speeds of 206.25 gigabits per second for the first time in a lab environment, according to a statement posted on its website. The research team, which was supported by a special government 6G project, collaborated with Fudan University in Shanghai and China Mobile, the world’s largest wireless network operator.

Some industry professionals, however, have indicated that 6G is still a decade away as the world has yet to agree on technical standards that would support the frequencies, signal modulations and waveforms of the 6G.

“It’s a bit rushed to promote the development of 6G from an industry perspective,” said Wei Rong, a Beijing-based researcher and member of a government communications think tank. “But it might be appropriate for the central government to promote 6G scientific research for early preparation.”

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The International Telecommunication Union, a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads the mobile communications standardization process, has already invited external organizations to contribute to its recommendations for 6G, according to a report published in the ITU Journal on Future and Developing Technologies in September of last year.

The ITU said it plans to publish the “IMT Vision Beyond 2030” report, with the agreed external recommendations, in June this year. IMT refers to International Mobile Telecommunications. The agency expects this report to “give the very general vision and direction of the global network of networks that 6G will be”.

China’s State Council, meanwhile, expects 5G applications to expand in various industrial sectors, including manufacturing, power grid and ports, according to the country’s new digital economy plan.

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice journal on China and Asia for over a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2022 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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