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NGMN mulls societal requirements for 6G with initial white paper

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The paper seeks to look at the vision for 6G and its “drivers” – which arguably the communications industry creates rather than fulfils.

The Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance published its first 6G white paper concentrating on the drivers and vision for the technology.

NGMN claims that a global organisation representing the entire value chain, it is well-placed to take the lead in providing guidance for global 6G activities.

This includes taking into account the needs of all stakeholders – consumers, societies, mobile network operators and the whole ecosystem.

The paper outlines the main challenges of making 6G happen and stresses the need for a healthy, unified global ecosystem and standards.

Fundamentals

NGMN believes that the continuing evolution of the mobile industry, and the underlying technologies, must safeguard the three fundamental needs facing the society at large, and the telecoms industry specifically, namely:

• Societal goals – future technologies should contribute to the success of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) including environmental sustainability, efficient delivery of healthcare, reducing poverty and inequality, better public safety and privacy, support ageing populations, and manage urbanisation.

• Operational necessities – it essential to improve the efficiency of mobile networks’ planning, deployment, operations, management, and performance.

• Market expectations – we need new services and capabilities to satisfy customers’ requirements, supported by affordable, evolving technologies.

Disingenous

This is a disingenuous – the general public typically only discover what they want and need after a technology is available. In other words, the tech providers are those who stimulate the public’s wants and needs, not the other end up. Who knew they needed a smartphone before the iPhone hit the market?

No wonder NGMN adds that a" differentiated evolution is required…Any new technological development should be assessed with respect to its differentiation from 5G, and any improvements should be benchmarked, including pragmatic deployment scenarios, with the law of diminishing returns in mind.”

The NGMN also claims that, “As operators are continuously engaging with end users, including vertical industries, they are in an excellent position to understand their future needs”. There is a considerable body of research that would contradict that too*.

No-one would dispute the next part of the statement though: “it is also important to further engage with user groups representing societal needs" to avoid a new digital divide.

* For example, Analysys Mason and Omdia