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Race for 6G primacy gathers momentum

News

Never mind that we don’t know if operators will succeed at monetising 5G or what 6G is.

Japan’s Nikkei reports that NTT and Fujitsu will form “a business alliance” to develop NTT’s Innovative Optical and Wireless Network (IOWN) for 6G. Fujitsu brings expertise in optical technology and information processing to the party.

To seal the deal, NTT Electronics will take a stake in the chip designer Fujitsu Advanced Technology, of which Fujitsu owns 67%.

Japan leading

Nikkei said that NTT clearly wants to help steer the technology next-generation R&D strategies of Japan’s leading communications technology players, as it has already announced an investment in NEC that resulted in the formation of an R&D joint venture focused on IOWN.

It adds NTT has always been at the forefront of next-generation wireless developments, with its DOCOMO business constantly pushing the boundaries of network advances (it is currently one of the leading operators in the adoption and development of Open RAN) and service innovation.

This is true, but it has not got a great record in exporting its trailblazing mobile tech – iMode was light years ahead of the rest of the world, but was only mainstream in Japan. However, NTT seems determined it won't happen this time round.

NTT’s ambition is to expand its optical communication technology worldwide and thinks it needs both to strengthen the R&D in its own of communication technology and also work with another communication equipment manufacturer to commercialise it.

NTT said it will collaborate with Fujitsu to develop equipment incorporating photoelectric fusion technology and the Tomitake supercomputer developed by Fujitsu and others.

US ties

NTT is also collaborating with Microsoft and Sony Group in the United States at Aion.

Earlier this month the Biden Administration announced a strengthened strategic alliance with Japan, as Sino-US relations continue to deteriorate and Huawei and other Chinese companies are barred from many countries’ infrastructure.

This includes a commitment to “Strengthen competitiveness in the digital field by investing in research, development, testing, and deployment of secure networks and advanced ICT including 5G and next-generation mobile networks (6G” or “Beyond 5G”).

“The United States has committed $2.5 billion to this effort, and Japan has committed $2 billion.”