LIVE FROM MWL UNWRAPPED: Takehiro Nakamura, chief technology architect of Japanese operator NTT Docomo, highlighted 6G’s potential to provide augmentation of human capabilities but stressed it had no ambition to win the global race to network deployment.

Speaking during the digital event’s day three keynote, Nakamura portrayed a vision of 6G operating on very high spectrum bands improving current communications applications while providing the basis for advanced technology previously seen in science fiction.

This includes use of sensors, data and artificial intelligence to create so-called “human augmentation”.

In terms of timelines for 6G, the executive expects standardisation discussions in the mid-2020s with a final agreement by 2028 and commercial deployment in 2030.

However, he noted “some companies [and] some countries are very aggressive to deploy the new generation system,” adding this meant there was a chance some could go live in 2028 or 2029.

The latter timescale fits with timelines previously cited in some markets and vendors.

Although clearly enthused by the possibilities of 6G, Nakamura dismissed the suggestion NTT Docomo would be the first global player to hit the button on the technology as it had been with 3G back in 2001.

Discussing the importance of being the first to launch, he added “it is not so important anymore” citing its “bad experience” as the pioneer of 3G with initial system deemed unstable. “In 4G and 5G we did not have any motivation to be [the] world’s first operator, but we want to be in the first group of operators to launch new generation systems,” Nakamura stated, noting this policy was being followed into the 6G era.

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