This research evaluates the 6G market for infrastructure, devices, applications, and services. The report assesses the technologies, capabilities, and anticipated communications and computing solutions beyond 5G. It analyzes 5G evolution and the impact of anticipated 6G technologies on the ICT ecosystem including infrastructure, business planning, and innovation areas necessary to realize the beyond 5G market. It also provides forecasts for 6G technology including infrastructure, devices, apps and services from 2025 through 2030.
About ten years ago, the phrase 'Beyond 4G' (B4G) was coined to refer to the need to move beyond what was currently envisioned as part of the evolution for 4G via the LTE standard. Since it was not clear what 5G might entail, and only pre-standards R&D level prototypes were in the works at the time, the term B4G lasted for a while, referring to what could be possible and potentially useful beyond 4G.
Somewhat ironically, the LTE standard is still evolving itself and some aspects will be used in 5G. In the same vein as B4G, “Beyond 5G” (B5G) can be seen as a pathway to 6G technologies that will render fifth generation capabilities and 5G applications pale in comparison. 5G technology (and resulting apps and services) are anticipated to be largely a stepping stone to the 6G technology market. Stated differently, just as 3G did not add substantive value, largely a bridge to 4G/LTE, we also see 5G acting as a catalyst for the 6G market.
We see this as the case for a few key reasons including: (1) 5G will have minimal effect in the near-term for the consumer segment, (2) Advanced 5G and edge computing supported private wireless solutions for enterprise and industrial sectors will facilitate innovation in smart buildings, smart factories, and automation in general, and (3) 5G will pave the way for expansion of immersive technologies (AR, VR, and haptic Internet), but a truly rich user experience will not come until the 6G technology market is fully developed.
Leading ICT service providers (such as NTT DoCoMo), vendors (such as Samsung), academic intuitions (such as University of Oulu) and other NGOs are identifying the purpose, goals, and associated capabilities for sixth generation wireless. Mind Commerce is closely tracking developments with these organizations and others. In addition, we are monitoring companies working on advanced materials science for smart surfaces. We are also tracking advanced power management and self-powered IoT devices developments involving many approaches including energy harvesting technology.
More than ever before, 6G technology will represent an integrated set of previously disparate technologies. Several key technologies will converge with 6G including AI, big data analytics, and computing. In addition, next-generation 6G capabilities in the areas of sensing, imaging, and location determination will generate vast amounts of data that must be managed on behalf of the network owners, service providers, and data owners.
The introduction of 5G paves the way for much of this convergence, such as the need to deploy edge computing to ensure overall throughput and low latency for URLLC solutions as well as supporting mMTC in the form of many low-power IoT devices that do not have their own on-board computing. Whereas the addition of mobile edge computing (MEC) is a point of consideration as an addition to 5G networks, MEC will be built into all 6G networks.
Edge and core computing will become much more seamlessly integrated as part of combined communications/computation infrastructure framework by the time that 6G networks are deployed. Mind Commerce sees this providing many potential advantages as 6G technology becomes operational such as improved access to AI capabilities. Working in conjunction with AI, computational infrastructure will be able to autonomously determine the best location for computing to occur, which shall include decisions about storage, processing, and data sharing.
- Cloud and Internet of Things Companies
- Communications Services Providers
- Governmental Organizations and NGOs
- ICT Infrastructure Providers
- Managed Services Companies
- Management Consulting and Advisory Firms
- Public and Private Investment Organizations