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ZTE and China Unicom get started on 6G

Chinese kit vendor ZTE has decided now is a good time to announce it has signed a strategic cooperation agreement on 6G with operator China Unicom.

For a country with such a novel approach to contract law, they do like to make a public show if signing agreements over in China, almost as if they’re trying to convince themselves they’ll be honoured. The ceremonial signing of the agreement also seems to double as a public show of strategic intent and corporate ambition.

They don’t go so far as to say what 6G actually is, however, other than one more G. There’s talk of technical innovation, integration with satellite networks and various flavours of IoT, so at this early stage we’re basically looking at 5G on steroids, which is fair enough. The announcement does move on to list some potential key technologies, which include three dimensional connectivity, Terahertz communication, and integrated communication/sensing, which all sound fun.

“ZTE and China Unicom will also verify the feasibility of these technologies through both the verification tests and the prototyping trials to achieve the 6G network performance targets, such as the peak data rate of 1 Tbps, the user experienced data rate of 20 Gbps, the volume traffic  capacity of 100Gbps/m3,” says the announcement.

There is a certain symbolism to banging on about 6G when the previous generation has only just got started and the world is preoccupied with more immediate concerns. On the other hand, the announcement could just be a massive trolling exercise designed to wind up the internet nutters. ‘If you thought 5G was bad, get a load of this,’ they seem to be saying.


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