According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), 5G will be the backbone of the digital economy, enabling a wealth of new applications and services for consumers, businesses and governments in the near future and into the next decade. But what comes next on the horizon in terms of the future of mobile technology? To answer this question, research and development initiatives have already started in multiple countries and regions around the globe to work on the next generation in the evolution of mobile: 6G. Although the 6G vision is still to be defined, it is expected that the next generation of mobile technology will build on the capabilities of more bandwidth, lower latency, additional spectrum and greater reliability, 6G is expected to apply new cognitive, predictive and contextual capabilities to deliver a yet-to-be-imagined level of user experience.
As such, it is a strategic imperative that North America establish itself as the global leader in the ideas, development, adoption and rapid commercialization of 6G, while continuing to work with global partners in areas like standards leadership to assure a broad marketplace for 6G solutions. ATIS has established the Next G Alliance to provide the foundation for North America to develop a 6G national roadmap and set of research priorities. The goal is that these not only spur development and innovation but ultimately drive economic growth and commercialization success for the entire region. By leveraging the knowledge gained from the development and early deployments of 5G, the North America market is well positioned to advance mobile technology leadership in 6G and beyond.
The Next G Alliance is a collaborative effort across industry and academia that will encompass the full lifecycle of research and development, manufacturing, standardization, market readiness and commercialization of 6G. It was born out of ATIS’ Call to Action issued in May 2020 to extend the benefits of 5G commercialization within the U.S. to a 6G world that delivers innovative services and customer experiences beyond network boundaries, physical environments and geographic constraints. The Call to Action identifies a proposed list of core Next G technologies as well as recommendations on government actions to stimulate innovation and development. Building on the Call to Action, the key strategic actions of the Next G Alliance are to:
- Create a 6G national roadmap that will promote a vibrant marketplace for 6G introduction, adoption and commercialization with U.S. innovation in mind
- Develop a set of national priorities that will influence government applied research funding and promote incentivized government actions
- Progress a North American model that promotes development across the full lifecycle of research to realization, aligned with commercialization outcomes
Who is setting this strategy into action? The Next G Alliance encourages participation across all stakeholders in the mobile industry, including mobility service providers; ICT industry companies; network systems providers, operations and business software providers; start-ups; industry vertical companies as well as other industry association partners. Being a member of the Next G Alliance does not require participants to be a member of ATIS.
Beyond the enablement of applications that exceed any previous generation of mobile technology, 6G will further change the way data is created, processed and consumed. This may spur new business models, forms of data ownership, and related policies. The Next G Alliance’s work will position a range of entities, including operators, resource brokers, services and application providers as well as trust and security providers to reap the benefits of a 6G economy.
The path to this future will undoubtedly present new challenges but also the potential for exciting new opportunities for both existing and new participants. The Next G Alliance is seizing a critical opportunity to ensure future generations of mobile technology deliver the maximum benefit to all stakeholders and that North America drives the vision of how we get there.