By Joy Chakravarty
Dubai, July 1 (IANS) While the world seems to be consumed by the potential of 5G, the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) leading telecom operator Etisalat revealed that it has already started working towards the transition to 6G, a mobile network that is expected to be 100 times faster than 5G.
Haitham Abdulazzak, Etisalat’s Chief Technology Officer, revealed that the UAE is “conducting research and developing international standards that are the main building blocks for the 6G ecosystem”.
He was speaking at the ongoing 2021 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, as part of a panel discussing ‘Setting the Roadmap to 6G’.
“Etisalat is upgrading tools and capabilities of its R&D centre to enhance the contribution towards 6G global standardisation within the international fora and alliances,” Abdulazzak said.
“Advancement and development of new mobile technologies has become much more rapid than ever. Introduction of new features, capabilities and use of millimetre frequencies seen in 5G is a result of this advancement, which is expected to be complemented with terahertz (THz) spectrum in 6G.
“Etisalat is one of the ambitious players making steps towards the sixth generation of the network.
“As part of our vision and future technology planning, 6G is going beyond earth networks into space to enable a new era of services and usage scenarios with terabyte data traffic resulting in extraordinary human to machine interaction,” he added.
While Etisalat has not spelt out any timeline, a report earlier this year by ABI Research forecasts 2028-29 as the early commercial deployment years for 6G.
The report also said that the Star Trek-like holographic communication and X Reality (XR, which is a combination of AR, VR, and Mixed Reality) are some of the applications that are very much possible with the speeds that 6G could provide.
5G is designed to provide a peak data rate of 20 Gigabytes per second (Gbps), and an average user experience rate of 120 Megabytes per second (Mbps). These numbers will be closer to 1,000 Gbps and 1 Gbps, respectively, in 6G.
The Global System of Mobile Communication Association (GSMA) has forecast 5G subscriptions, which started rolling out in 2019 in select countries, to reach 1.7 billion.