Indian government unveils national 6G vision

Under the 6G initiative, India will identify priority areas for research by involving stakeholders including industry, academia and service providers

The government of India unveiled a national “6G” project with the aim of launching this technology by 2030.

The main aim of the 6G initiative is to identify and fund research and deployment of the next-generation technology in the country, according to a vision document unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

According to the document, the government has appointed a council to oversee the project and focus on issues such as standardization, identification of suitable spectrum for 6G, create an ecosystem for devices and systems, among other things.

6G has not yet been standardized, but research and development of candidate technologies and spectrum is well underway.

Another key focus of the council will be on new technologies such as terahertz communication, radio interfaces, tactile internet, artificial intelligence for connected intelligence, new encoding methods and waveforms chipsets for 6G devices, according to the vision document unveiled by the government.

“Within 6 months of the rollout of 5G technology we are talking about 6G. Before 4G, India was only a user of telecom technology, but now India is moving fast to become a big exporter of telecom technology,” Modi added.

India formally launched 5G services in October 2022 and local carrier Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel already offer 5G in hundreds of cities across the country.

Under the 6G initiative, India will identify priority areas for research by involving “all stakeholders” including industry, academia and service providers, spanning theoretical and simulation studies, proof-of-concept prototypes and demonstrations and early market interventions through startups.

“Our primary focus must be on multi-platform next-generation networks like Dense optical networks, AI/ML on the air interface and for network optimization, tactile internet, Intelligent network operation, intelligent reflective surfaces, efficient low earth orbit satellites, high-altitude platform systems (HAPS) and user-defined virtualized air interfaces. Further, initiatives into investigating and implementing methods to standardize such technology and devices can provide additional structure and foresight to our 6G roadmap and assist us in efficiently allocating resources to ensure that India becomes a key role player in 6G technology implementation and adoption,” the document reads.

India’s 6G project is proposed to be implemented in two phases: The first one from 2023 to 2025, and the second one from 2025 to 2030. In the initial phase of the 6G initiative, support will be provided to explorative ideas, “risky pathways” and proof-of-concept tests. Ideas and concepts that show promise and potential for acceptance by the global peer community will be adequately supported to develop them to completion, establish their use cases and benefits, and create testbeds leading to commercialization as part of phase two.

The vision document also said that the government will have to explore shared use of spectrum, particularly in the higher frequency bands for 6G.

“Open up a few bands to generate demand (for example 450-470 MHz, 526-612 MHz, 31-31.3 GHz, etc.),” the document recommended. “Expand and position a larger mid-band to meet the requirements of 5G+ and 6G technologies. This requires initiating a new inter-ministerial process of repurposing several bands like that has been done earlier,” it added.

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