6G is already on the drawing board and the question that springs to mind is – why? 5G, as technology, is here or hereabouts but will take several years to reach the core of the network.
Right now, 5G implementations are tailor-made solutions aimed at the enterprise market and even those are not all being led by telcos.
The investment in 5G has been huge and will continue to be so. Business models are still unclear and telcos are not sure how the technology will be used in the real world. As one telco speaker said at the recent DSP Leaders Forum, they do not know what 90% of the technology will be used for.
That is a lot of guesswork.
So, what is 6G and why are we even thinking about it?
Bearing in mind we do not know what to do with 5G; it is almost impossible to point to 6G and say ‘ah, yes, we will be able to do that once we get 6G’. Bear in mind, too, that the BT speaker at the DSP event said that they were in the process of doing quite a lot of 5G stuff in 4G but ran out of time. Given that nugget, the whole notion of ‘Gs’ becomes quite irritating and distracting.
Maybe we are thinking about 6G because there is a technology race on that no-one admits to.
We could not countenance the idea that because the US ‘lost’ the 5G race, they couldn’t merely applaud the technology and use it to help their citizens lead better lives. Surely, such an advanced and grown-up nation would not think of simply declaring the start of another race, one that does not really exist, so that they can win that instead?
Perish the thought that – as ATIS says – 6G should be about collaboration between industry and Government and therefore US Government money will be thrown into the ring in order to win this fake race.
Perish the thought, also, that with the ridiculous trade war and the enforced quarantining of Huawei, that 6G might allow the US to pursue an underlying agenda of digital McCarthyism.
Plus – we are all getting ‘G’ fatigue. So, 6G technology is better and more flexible than 5G, maybe. Great, but when someone invented a six-lane highway, it was just a bigger highway. It didn’t warrant a new name, it just carried more people. It certainly didn’t warrant years of pointless and distracting hype.
6G, unless someone can persuade us that it is really a ‘thing’ is looking very phoney. And very political. And for ‘political’ read ‘destructive’ and ‘divisive’.