India Launches Government-Backed 6G Alliance

July 4, 2023

Written by Caio Castro
CATEGORY: Exclusives
TAGS: 6G, research, india

After releasing its 6G vision last March, the Indian government took another step towards becoming a leader of the next generation of mobile internet: India launched the Bharat 6G Alliance, an industry-led, government-backed group aiming to translate the vision into reality.

The alliance has 16 founding members from the industry and academia, including big players like Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea. IIT Madras and IIT Kanpur, two educational institutions in India, and the public body C-DoT are also among the initial affiliates.

“What we’re trying to do is to continue our research in the areas of coverage, capacity, and experience. On the other hand, recognise that the application of 6G for the benefit of society and societal needs will take centre stage as 6G is rolled out,” summarised N. Ganapathy Subramaniam, chairman of the Alliance.

The group is forming working groups that will cover several topics of the 6G development. It will also accept associate members from outside India.

During the launch event, Subramaniam said that he sees the future network to be “more disaggregated, software-driven, and intelligent, with AI/ML driving applications.” Even though he did not offer more details, the chairman pointed out the primary focus areas of the Alliance:

  • Health
  • Education
  • Entertainment
  • Agriculture
  • Weather predictions
  • Pandemic and public services
  • Productivity

India’s Sandbox

With the launch, the government announced Rs 240.5 crores (USD 29.3 million) in investments for two testbeds:

  • Advanced optical communications, run by C-DoT and IIT Madras.
  • 6G THz communications with orbital angular momentum and multiplexing, run by IIT Madras, IIT Patna, IIT Guwahati, and Sameer.

In addition to the experiments, 66 startups and micro-, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) received Rs 48 crores (USD 5.8 million) for fostering digital communication innovations.

The Bharat 6G Alliance is another step India has taken towards playing a leadership role in developing the technology. The country has been pushing for prominent participation in international discussions about 6G – the recently approved ITU 6G framework draft, for example, had one of India’s inputs accepted.

Featured picture by DoT India

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