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China Telecom and ZTE are already working on 6G technology

China Telecom and ZTE are already working on 6G technology
China has nearly 140,000 5G base stations across the country, but local telecom companies are already gearing up for 6G. (Picture: Shutterstock)

Although most of the world still lacks 5G coverage, one of China’s three state-owned telecommunications companies is already working on the next generation of mobile communication. China Telecom signed a strategic cooperation agreement with telecom equipment maker ZTE on Sunday to research 6G technologies.

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology started looking into 6G in 2018, making it one of the first countries to do so. But 6G is still a vague term with no developed standards to define it. Perhaps the country’s top tech firms want to start developing it now to get a head start on the competition and possibly a stronger position in the future telecom market.

At the second 6G Wireless Summit in March, ZTE’s director of 6G research Fang Min said that the new network standard should see research start within the next three years and be commercialized by 2030. And in a hint of what 6G standards could look like, she added that the network should be able to support a peak data rate of 1 terabit per second, with user data rates of 20 gigabits per second. By comparison, 5G on the millimeter wave spectrum currently delivers download speeds of 1 to 3 gigabits per second.

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