Deutsche Telekom (DT) is taking the lead for the 6G-TakeOff research project, a program funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

DT announced its role at the project kick-off in Darmstadt, Germany, on Friday. The program involves a total of 22 partners from research and industry.

Deutsche Telekom is forming a consortium with the aim of developing a uniform 6G architecture for communications networks comprising ground stations, flying infrastructure platforms and satellites.

According to DT’s press release, base stations on board satellites and flying platforms can help close the remaining coverage gaps of ground-based base stations, offering the potential to provide additional network capacity temporarily and locally as needed.

To this end, 6G-TakeOff will develop a 3D architecture for mobile networks in which terrestrial and non-terrestrial base stations are considered and used in a uniform manner, the operator said.

The main topics here are the fully automated management of networks in which structures change dynamically, as well as flexibly configurable hardware platforms and antenna systems. Artificial intelligence (AI) also will be used to find optimal connections for data streams.  

“Collaborative early research is critical to prepare the ground for the 6th generation of communications technology,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, head of T-Labs at Deutsche Telekom, in a statement. “We are honored to lead the 6G-TakeOff project and work together with partners from across industry, academia and science to research and validate key architectural concepts that will shape the future 6G landscape.”

Europe lagging in 5G

Getting a jump on 6G is no doubt a good idea considering where Europe stands in the rollout of 5G, although it’s not entirely clear how it’s going to leapfrog the situation. 

The GSMA recently released a report detailing commercial 5G launches, including positive momentum in Germany, as well as Switzerland, Finland and the U.K.

The report predicts that by 2025, the average adoption of 5G across Europe will hit 44%, with the U.K. and Germany expected to have the highest 5G adoption rates in Europe at 61% and 59%, respectively.

However, that’s below other parts of the world, as South Korea is expected to hit 73% in the same period while Japan and the U.S. are likely to achieve 68% adoption, according to the report.

The report also examined how European operators are progressing with the rollout of standalone (SA) 5G networks and noted that 5G SA services in Europe are now available in Finland, Germany and Italy. Further deployments are expected in the next few years.

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