Sixth Generation Cellular: Looking Beyond 5G to the 6G Technology Market
Looking beyond fifth generation (5G) cellular towards sixth generation (6G) technology is challenging, particularly as the former is not yet (fully) commercially launched and the latter is in the R&D stage. The excitement stems from what is possible with 6G technology, which is nothing short of amazing in terms of both the high-tech lifestyle it may engender as well as the positive impact on many different industries. The concerns have to do with the impact (or lack thereof) for 5G as well as the disintermediating economic effects of the anticipated 6G technology market.
One of the overarching insights from this research is that 5G technology (and resulting apps and services) are anticipated to be largely a stepping stone to the 6G technology market. Stated differently, just as 3G did not add substantive value, largely a bridge to 4G/LTE, we also see 5G acting as a catalyst for the 6G market. Reasons may include: (1) 5G will have minimal effect in the near-term for the consumer segment, (2) Advanced 5G and edge computing supported private wireless solutions for enterprise and industrial sectors will facilitate innovation in smart buildings, smart factories, and automation in general, and (3) 5G will pave the way for expansion of immersive technologies (AR, VR, and haptic Internet), but a truly rich user experience will not come until the 6G technology market is fully developed.