Nokia and Vodafone look to pave the way forward to 6G

6G over a digital city

Kit vendor Nokia and operator Vodafone New Zealand have signed a strategic partnership which will see them collaborate to ‘explore the capabilities of 5G-Advanced and 6G networks.’

The Memorandum of Understanding between Nokia and Vodafone NZ is supposed to ratify collaboration on the development of new applications and services on existing 4G/5G networks, as well as explore the capabilities of 5G-Advanced and 6G.

This will take the form of joint resource investment in technology validation, demos and field trials for use cases in areas including network slicing, private networks, industrial automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, Edge compute and a ‘6G enabled future.’

“Nokia has a proud 30 year history of bringing the world’s best mobile technology to New Zealand with Vodafone, most recently helping Vodafone deliver a world class 5G network,” said Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia. “This collaboration will pave the way forward to 5G-Advanced and ultimately 6G. New Zealand has a thriving and dynamic telecommunications environment, which provides a perfect backdrop to pioneer innovation – innovation that will enable incredible advances in connectivity, services and the associated digital transformation.”

Tony Baird, Vodafone New Zealand’s Wholesale and Infrastructure Director added: “At Vodafone we’re helping customers unlock the magic of technology, and to do that, they need fast, reliable connectivity. We have invested extensively in our 4G and 5G networks with Nokia and the innovation collaboration announced today is an awesome next step. A relentless focus on innovation – and bringing leading technology and expertise to Aotearoa – is how we help Kiwi businesses, industry and people realise the huge potential of advanced mobile networks in the short term, while putting us firmly on the path towards a 6G future in the longer term.”

It’s not as if there is any mention of a specific breakthrough or technological milestone reached, so It instinctively feels a bit premature to start vaguely making noises about the impending era of 6G while the industry is still very much in the middle of trying to explain to the wider world what the benefits of 5G are, without comprehensive success. But perhaps that’s the point – if you want to look really cutting edge but don’t have anything specific to show off, does throwing another corporate announcement about the potential, but often still ambiguous, benefits of 5G onto an already very large pile really cut the mustard anymore?


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