The European Union is in a very strong position to develop 6G. The EU has already been a central player in putting in place 5G standards through the work of the 5GPPP under the Horizon 2020 research and science instrument. The EU knows that the best way forward in devising new technological standards is by involving key industry participation in the roll-out of 5G and soon to be 6G policy instruments.
Europe is a world leader in the fields of research, science and engineering, with 25% of all global research in ICT taking place in Europe. The EU is home to some of the finest scientists in the world, and one third of all scientific publications subject to peer-review are carried out by European researchers.
We need to ensure that we are all working together to deliver unitary global 6G standards. It makes no economic sense to have separate de-coupled standards for 6G. The digital economy is growing three times faster than the global economy. ICT innovation is driving structural changes within many vertical industries including those that relate to the manufacturing, energy, transport, health, agriculture, smart city, and agriculture sectors. The public, private, and research communities must continue to work together to build unitary global technical 6G standards that will support the European and global economies into the future. Innovation is best developed in open environments and not in closed ones. The world is a global economy not a closed one.
Industry involvement in 6G is key
The process of innovation does not stop at any one defined geographical border and nor should it. Governments and companies alike must co-operate internationally if the most innovative products and services are going to successfully reach the marketplace.
Yes – we all know that it will take a cycle of 10 years to migrate from 5G to 6G. The commencement in the roll-out of 6G services will get underway circa 2029/2030. But policy makers need to reflect on one important matter. If there is a fragmentation in research efforts, then this in turn leads to a fragmentation in standards which in turn leads to a de-coupled global trading framework.
The Smart Network and Services Joint Undertaking (SNS JU) was formally established from a legal viewpoint by the European Union in November 2021. It lays down a foundation for supporting the digital economy in Europe and in a global context. The SNS JU is a key cog in the wheel of EU policies designed to improve the competitive position of the European Union within the digital economy. The roll out of the SNS JU under Horizon Europe will align with other key EU policies such as the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), Digital Europe, the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and Digital Compass 2030. The SNS JU will play a critical role in ensuring that Europe will be equipped with the tech know-how to be an early adopter of 6G technologies.
The 1st SNS JU call to action sets a strong foundation for 6G development
By putting in place the 1st call for proposals under the SNS JU, the EU has consulted extensively with industry in drawing up the required strategic research and innovation actions (SRIA). Organisations such as 6GIA, AIOTI, CISPE, Networld 2020, and NESSI have all played key roles in identifying the proposed scope for this initial 6G SNS JU call for proposals under Horizon Europe that covers the period 2021-2022.
The following research areas will be included within this initial SNS JU Horizon Europe call for proposal:
- Large scale trials and pilots in support of the vertical sectors.
- Ubiquitous radio access.
- Green radio technology.
- Evolved architecture for global green systems.
- Edge computing evolution.
- Real-time zero-touch service technology.
- Communications infrastructure technologies and design.
- Secure service development and smart security.
- Systems architecture.
- 6G holistic systems.
- Wireless technology and signal processing.
The EU is allocating €240 million to finance this 1st SNS JU call, representing a strong investment by the EU to accelerate 6G research.
The Next Horizon: Huawei support for 6G development in Europe
Huawei set up our first research centre in Europe in Sweden 2000. We now have 23 research centres in Europe employing 2,400 researchers, 90% of whom come from Europe. As a company, we have taken part in over 45 collaborative research programmes under both FP7 and Horizon Europe. In December 2021, Huawei was named as the 2nd highest private sector investor in R&D under the European Commission Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard. Huawei is also the 8th most innovative company in the world under the 2021 Boston Consulting Group survey of the 100 most innovative companies in the world.
Huawei is deeply embedded within the EU ICT ecosystem. As a company, we are in a strong position to support the EU in rolling out its policy agenda within the digital and ICT domains. Huawei is ‘In Europe, for Europe.’
Read more about 6G: The Next Horizon
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