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SK Telecom, Samsung, Nokia and Ericsson partner for 6G R&D

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The global race for future technologies has accelerated even further, with the South Korean wireless carrier SK Telecom announcing that it is joining forces with network hardware providers Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung Electronics to carry out collaborative research and development projects to pave the way for 6G mobile network technologies. The partnership will also help to upgrade the already-advanced 5G technology, and expand  its adoption in other areas, including self-driving cars and in-built solutions.


Park Jin-Hyo, Chief technology officer and Head of ICT R&D Center of SK Telecom, said, “Through strengthened cooperation with Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung Electronics, SK Telecom will be able to secure the world’s best 5G quality and lead the way towards 6G mobile network communications.”


In accordance with the terms of the signed memorandums of understanding (MOUs), SK Telecom will work closely with each company to promote the advancement of 5G network technologies. They will jointly promote 5G development and commercialization, incorporating ultra-reliable, low-latency communications (URLLC) for industrial and vehicular applications, improved multi-input and multi-output (MIMO), differentiated 28 GHz technology, and standalone (SA) 5G networks.


Although the announced MOUs dot not only concern 6G, the telecom companies are already actively discussing the currently undefined future cellular standard. Last year, researchers in New York and Finland began introductory work on 6G, and have recently pointed to the terahertz (THz) spectrum, the sub-millimeter wave range from 300 MHz to 3 THz, as the next borderline in ultra-high bandwidth and ultra-low latency communications. Governments are just beginning to open these frequencies for testing.


As stated in the announcement by SK Telecom, the company and the three network equipment vendors will co-develop core technologies for 6G to take the lead in next-generation cellular technology and explore new business models. In addition, according to the International Research Journal of Engineering and Technology, the upcoming 6G, though still in an embryonic stage, aims to integrate satellites for global coverage to provide far higher data rates and faster Internet speeds than 5G.