DoT forms innovation group for 6G technology

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has formed a technology innovation group on the next frontier, the sixth generation (6G), hoping to take the lead in the development of the technology globally.

Telecom secretary K Rajaraman will head the initiative as chairperson and the forum aims to create vision and objectives as well as develop a roadmap for research and development (R&D), pre-standardisation, development of applications and products, and action plans for 6G technology.

“India should endeavour to take a lead in 6G space. This will require a collaborative effort from the government, industry and the telecom service providers, academic and research institutions to identify the area of work and build synergy to innovate, create Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), standardise, contribute to global standards, create regulations, run pilots, and manufacture, test and supply at a global scale,” the department’s memorandum dated November 1, 2021 said.

The 22-member group includes additional secretary Anita Praveen, member (Technology) Ashok Kumar Tiwari, member (Services) Deepak Chaturvedi, executive director Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) Rajkumar Upadhyay in addition to directors of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) of Chennai, Delhi, Kanpur, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and director of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore, as well as industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) chairman Ajai Puri who is also the chief operating officer (India and South Asia) of Bharti Airtel.

The move comes with India trailing developed nations in auctioning and deployment of 5G technology. New Delhi is set to auction sometime next year airwaves to support 5G technology, with commercial deployments likely six months from the sale.

But the government is eyeing higher participation of India in futuristic technological advancements worldwide, and to essentially increase the country’s contribution in the global value chain.

Chinese Huawei, and Korean Samsung and LG have already started work on 6G technology, which is likely to be much faster than 5G, enabling a massive societal change.

“India’s participation and success in 6G may require huge investments in research and development (R&D) activities, and should leverage its strengths such as availability of a large market and increasing economic power,” Bharat Bhatia, president, ITU-APT Foundation of India (IAFI) said.

The next generation of technology is expected to make its first commercial move before 2030.

Recently, IAFI has submitted its 6G vision document to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a UN body, that has already put its strategy in place towards the tectonic technological shift.

Last month, Rajaraman asked state-owned telecom research and development organisation C-DoT to start development in the areas of 6G and other futuristic technologies in order to catch up with the fast-changing technology marketplace.