Will There Be a Regulation Revolution for 6G?

April 27, 2022

Written by Caio Castro
Spectrum auction gavel
CATEGORY: Exclusives

While the 5G rollout advances worldwide – with 70 countries already offering live 5G services, according to GSMA’s report “The Mobile Economy 2022” – regulators start to turn their attention to 6G.

In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has launched a technical group to advise on the next generation of mobile connectivity, and the US Congress has two bills about 6G under review. In the United Kingdom, Ofcom has published its spectrum roadmap, which includes work in the Terahertz frequencies department.

In Finland, recognised as one of the pioneer nations in Beyond 5G research, the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom) also has begun plans to influence the 6G conversation in the country. “With good spectrum regulation, we can support pioneering and enable companies to succeed in the global market,” said Heidi Himmanen, Chief Advisor at Traficom, on the agency’s website.

She’s co-chair of the European Commission’s 6G subgroup of the Radio Spectrum Policy Group and will speak at the 6GSymposium Spring 2022 in the panel “Why do we Need a Regulation Revolution?” The session will address questions about the nature of competition, cross-sector regulation, spectrum management, and more.

“We want to ensure that 6G is part of sustainable solutions and supports European values, (…) promoting cooperation between public authorities, researchers, and the industry,” Himmanen added.

This is just a part of the plan. Traficom, which represents Finland at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), aims to play a big role in putting together the ITU’s 6G vision, especially in cooperation with the Finnish-led initiative 6G Flagship.

A Challenge Called Industry

While consumers have been regarded as the main targets of mobile service providers for decades, 5G and 6G promise to deliver several capabilities that would largely benefit the enterprise and industrial sectors. For example, low latency (0.1 ms expected in 6G) and greater connection density or more distant use cases like holoportation and digital twins all stand to support industry 4.0.

The path towards this ideal world, however, is still scattered with questions. “Significant competitive advantages are expected from 5G networks, whether in transforming manufacturing industries or helping reverse negative trends,” wrote Gerard Pogorel, professor at Telecom Paristech, in a white paper for the European Liberal Forum. He’s also speaking at the “Why do we Need a Regulation Revolution?” session during the 6GSymposium Spring 2022.

“When it comes to the latter, European industries are facing a number of structural problems, including costly cable connectivity, inflexible production lines, outdated real-time data use for production control, and suboptimal wireless solutions,” he analysed.

According to him, national regulatory agencies will play a role in allocating the spectrum for full deployment of 5G for industries. However, they lack consistency in doing it in the European Union.

“The lack of EU-wide consistency in allocation and licensing conditions of frequencies for Industry 4.0 hinders harmonisation and standardisation, delaying and weakening European developments.”

These promise to be some of the topics tackled by the 6GSymposium Spring 2022 panel. Other speakers include Konstantinos Masselos (President of Greek regulator EETT and incoming Chair of BEREC, the European regulators’ association), Georg Serentschy (Managing Partner at Serentschy Advisory Services), and Erik Bohlin (Professor of Digital Strategy & Innovation at the Chalmers University).

Featured image by Bill Oxford/Unsplash

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