NGMN's 6G Vision and Roadmap

People and organizations that have been following Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance for a while may be shocked to realise that the NGMN logo and brand has evolved for the next iteration of mobile technology.

You can read more details about it on their website here.

The NGMN Alliance published its first 6G White Paper back in April 2021, focusing on the 6G Drivers and Vision. In the White Paper, the NGMN Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) identify the key drivers for 6G and outline their vision for 6G and the future transition of networks enabling differentiated services with expanded market opportunities and novel experience. Furthermore, the paper outlined the key challenges to be considered in a journey towards 6G, and emphasizes the need for a healthy and unified global ecosystem and standards. 

The press release states:

NGMN believes that the continuing evolution of the mobile industry, and the underlying technologies, must be guided by the imperative to safeguard the three fundamental needs facing the society at large, and the telecoms industry in specific, namely:

  • Societal Goals: Future technologies should contribute further to the success of a number of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) such as: environmental sustainability, efficient delivery of health care, reduction in poverty and inequality, improvements in public safety and privacy, support for ageing populations, and managing expanding urbanization.
  • Operational Necessities: There is a strong need to make the planning, deployment, operations, management, and performance of the mobile operators’ networks more efficient.
  • Market Expectations: Customer requirements need to be satisfied by offering new services and capabilities, supported by evolving technologies in a cost-effective manner.

You can read the complete detail in their press release and the rebranded whitepaper is available here.

A recent NGMN Press and Industry Briefing on Telecom TV provided their strategy going forward. The video (forward to 23:52 to start from 6G)  of that briefing is embedded below and you can read more details in their press release here. It is worth highlighting the following from that:

Alongside with projects supporting 5G’s full implementation, the focus of the NGMN Work Programme in 2021 and beyond is on three main equally important pillars with different time horizons:

  1. MASTERING THE ROUTE TO DISAGGREGATION WITH A FOCUS ON THE END-TO-END OPERATING MODEL: Disaggregation is a key topic for mobile network operators and the entire industry.
  2. GREEN FUTURE NETWORKS: Sustainability is a topic of general and global concern gaining increasing attention from many companies.
  3. 6G: NGMN has a proven track record in substantially paving the way for 4G’s and 5G’s success, its mass-market and end-user adaptation. We are determined to provide the same impact for 6G, in order to achieve harmonised global standards and to contribute to a healthy global ecosystem for the benefit of end-users.

At this point it is worth pointing out that not everyone is impressed with the 6G whitepaper. In a recent presentation, Dr. Dan Warren, Director of Advanced Network Research, Samsung R&D UK shared his thoughts on first steps on the path to 6G. His presentation is available on LinkedIn here

At the end of his presentation, he shared his view of 6G Research. He also shared a LinkedIn post from Dr. Mehdi Bennis, a well known researcher of next generation of technologies. The LinkedIn post can be found here and is a bit critical of the NGMN 6G white paper. 

We won't expand his points here but the last point that he mentions in his post is worth highlighting:

Despite all 6G visions, panels and white papers over the last 2-3 years, including the ones my colleagues/collaborators and I contributed to, the overwhelming consensus is that we are still looking for the WOW moment. Some may rush to say Quantum. While everyone believes this will definitely emerge as a disruptive technology, there should be more

Let us know your thoughts.

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