Soon after stepping on the 5G bandwagon, India is now gearing up for the next phase of technological revolution by moving towards 6G. To accelerate India’s transition to 6G, the prime minister recently unveiled a vision document, “Bharat 6G”, that lays out a strategy to enable the country to roll out high-speed 6G services by 2030.
As per the vision document, the use cases of 6G technology would include remote-controlled factories, constantly communicating self-driven cars and smart wearables, taking inputs directly from human senses. To enable these use cases, the government has set up a Bharat 6G project to identify and fund research and deployment of the next-generation technology in the country.
The 6G project will be implemented in two phases, the first one from 2023 to 2025 and the second from 2025 to 2030. Under phase one, the government aims to provide support to explorative ideas, risky pathways and proof-of-concept tests. The ideas and concepts that show promise and potential for acceptance by the global peer community will be adequately supported to develop them to completion, establish their use cases and benefits, and create implementational IPs and testbeds, leading to commercialisation under phase two.
The government has appointed an apex council to oversee the project and focus on issues such as standardisation, identification of spectrum for 6G usage, creating an ecosystem for devices and systems, and working out the finances for research and development, among other things. The council will also aim to enable India to become a leading global supplier of intellectual property, products and solutions of affordable 6G telecom solutions, and identify priority areas for 6G research based on India’s competitive advantages.
In sum, the vision document highlights the government’s intention of becoming a leading player in the global 6G ecosystem and enabling stakeholders to capture global market share. It intends to do this by identifying priority areas for research and involving all stakeholders including industry, academia and service providers spanning theoretical and simulation studies, proof-of-concept prototypes and demonstrations as well as early market interventions through startups. To this end, a 6G test bed has been launched to provide industry, academic institutions, and others a platform to test and validate the evolving technology.
However, a key consideration while enabling 6G use cases, products and solutions is ensuring energy sustainability. While India’s 6G vision seems to be promising, it will simultaneously have to be balanced with sustainability strategies since most 6G supporting communication devices will be battery powered and can have a significant carbon footprint.