Although we are only in the top of the first inning in the ballgame that we call 5G, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t some players already discussing 6G. In February 2019, then President Donald Trump disseminated a tweet that said, “I want 5G, and even 6G, technology in the United States as soon as possible. It is far more powerful, faster, and smarter than the current standard. American companies must step up their efforts, or get left behind.”
China says that it has the early lead in intellectual property related to 6G
With 5G in the first inning, the battle over the intellectual property of 6G has already started
While the U.S. and the EU have already started 6G research projects in order to make sure that one country or region doesn’t have an advantage over others, CNIPA told China to “utilize its technological advantage in 5G to continue staying ahead.” The CNIPA also said that China should arrange partnerships with such Japanese and Korean firms like NEC, Samsung and Mitsubishi “to reduce reliance on American and European technologies” in critical areas of 6G where China is behind.
Even though China has the global lead in 6G patents, only one company from the country cracks the top ten list. The top three companies with 6G patents worldwide are NEC, Daewoo Communications, and Mitsubishi. While Artificial Intelligence will play a large role in 6G, Chinese firms hold a whopping 75% of the 6G patents in this area.
China does have the most patents related to terahertz technology for 6G at 40%. Out of the top 10 patent holders in this area, six are Chinese universities and research firms. The two top patent holders in this category are China’s University of Electronic Science and Technology and the China Metrology University.
6G standards are years away from being finalized, but for now 6G is expected to deliver terabit speeds, up to 100 times the capacity of 5G, and coverage ranging from underwater to outer space. Features could include immersive extended reality (all real and virtual combined environments) and high-fidelity mobile holograms.
If 5G allows users to download full-length films in seconds, create new industries, support self-driving vehicles and new technologies, imagine what 6G download data speeds will be capable of if it truly runs at 100 times the download speed of 5G. And that is why the major industrialized countries are battling each other for global leadership of 5G and 6G connectivity.
Keep in mind that most of the time when discussing the future of 5G and 6G, the talk is about how the faster speeds will impact consumers. But we can’t be blind to how faster wireless service could impact military powers in the world which is another reason why industrialized nations are already battling over 6G.