Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the “Bharat 6G Vision Statement” on Wednesday, setting the target of launching the sixth generation telecom services in the country by 2030. The document highlighted that India would take the help of stakeholders, including academia, industry and service providers, to identify priority areas for research. They will then develop prototypes and demonstrations related to the 6G network.
“The global vision is to further transform connectivity to make big data analytics and holographic displays a norm when 6G technology is finally implemented in the 2030s,” the statement said.
“This report further elaborates on India’s 6G Mission which aims to provide all these high-speed and ultralow latency solutions at affordable prices to urban and rural areas alike, irrespective of external factors such as terrains, weather, and environmental conditions,” it added.
What is 6G?
6G, or the sixth generation telecom network, is the cell phone technology that will provide internet speed of up to 1 terabyte (TB) per second with “ultra-low latency”. It will ensure smooth machine-to-machine and machine-to-human interactions and boost the development of virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
How is 6G different from 5G?
Under the 5G technology, the average speed range lies between 40 to 1,100 Mbps, potentially hitting maximum speeds of 10,000 Mbps through technologies such as millimetre-wave spectrum and beamforming.
According to the document, 6G will offer ultra-low latency with speeds up to 1 Tbps.
When was 5G launched in India?
In India, 5G services were officially launched by PM Modi on October 1, 2022. However, before this Reliance, Jio had already announced the roll-out of its 5G services in India. Currently, Reliance Jio and Airtel are the only telecom operators in India that provide 5G services.
What will change with 6G?
6G mobile communication technology is expected to improve and enable access to required information, resources, and services. Its deployment is expected to reduce differences in regional and social infrastructure and economic opportunities.
Thus, it promises a way to slow down rural migration to cities and metro-led urbanisation.
“We expect that 6G will play an important role in filling the gap in the availability of e-services between urban and rural communities. This will subsequently fulfil the UN’s SDGs and tremendously contribute to improving the quality and opportunities of human life,” the statement said.
The main use cases of the 6G network will include remote-controlled factories, constantly communicating self-driven cars and smart wearables.
How is India planning to develop and launch 6G?
The Centre will implement the 6G project in two phases. In the first phase, it will provide support to explore new ideas and pathways. With the government’s support, these ideas will then be used to develop use cases, intellectual properties (IPs) and testbeds.
In the second phase, these IPs, prototypes and testbeds will be commercialised.
How much money has been set aside for the development of 6G?
An apex council has also been appointed to oversee the 6G project and to ensure standardisation, adequate funding and a conducive environment, among other things. Also, the statement recommended the creation of a corpus of Rs 10,000 crore to facilitate various funding instruments such as grants, loans, VC funds, fund of funds, etc., over the next ten years.
Is there any caution?
The document said that while 6G promises growth, it will simultaneously have to be balanced with sustainability as most 6G supporting communication devices will be battery-powered and can have a significant carbon footprint.
Which other countries are focussing on the 6G network?
South Korea has unveiled its 6G research and development plan with an investment of Rs 1,200 crore till 2025. Dedicated research centres have been set up in the country and are working closely with the Korean Intellectual Property Office.
In Europe, the European 6G Vision has identified key features of this network and is currently conducting a research project named Hexa-X. It will end this year.
In Japan, the Integrated Optical and Wireless Network (IOWN) Forum has published its Vision 2030 white paper for 6G, which laid out key technology directions for infrastructure evolution in four dimensions: cognitive capacity, responsiveness, scalability, and energy efficiency.