Will 6G be called 6G?

This is a good question and I don’t see why not. The table above shows the name of the last few generations of the mobile wireless technology. 

3G was the marketing name of what ITU defined as IMT-2000. The 3GPP defined name was UMTS. There were other technologies that were also 3G, in addition to UMTS. Those technologies are irrelevant today as nearly all the 3G that is still in use is UMTS. 

IMT-2000 was not good enough so IMT created Enhanced IMT-2000 vision and requirements. 3GPP updated 3G to include High Speed Packet Access or HSPA which allowed for far better downloads and uploads. Unofficially this was called as 3.5G.

ITU later defined IMT-Advanced. LTE did not meet the requirements of IMT-A so many operators and researchers considered it to be pre-4G or 3.9G. The 3GPP technology that met the IMT-A requirements was LTE-Advanced or LTE-A. This was defined in 3GPP Release-10. 

Even though we call 4G as just LTE, the actual name of the whole system is Evolved Packet System or EPS. This contained of E-UTRAN for access and Evolved Packet Core or EPC as the core part.

The naming is sort of similar in 5G except that 5G is the marketing name as well as 3GPP name for IMT-2020, defined by ITU. The whole 5G system is called 5GS and it comprises of New Radio or NR for the access part and 5G Core or 5GC for the core part.

When it comes to 6G, we can safely say that the marketing name will be 6G but we do not know if ITU will call it IMT-2030 and 3GPP will call it 6G. We would very much hope so but nothing is confirmed until it is agreed upon and written down.

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