China has already kicked off its 6G research

(Image credit: Image Credit: Geralt / Pixabay)

Days after commercial 5G services were switched on in the country, China has officially started its research and development into 6G, marking the start of the next stage of a cellular technology arms race with the US.

Several government ministries and research institutes have established a national technology research and development group, according to a publication from the country’s Ministry of Science and Technology.

The government had previously stated it hoped to kickstart 6G development before the end of 2018 and expected commercial networks to be ready before the end of the 2020s. Whereas 4G services launched relatively late in China, the country has become a leader in 5G.

China 6G development

It already has the world’s largest 5G network, while Huawei is a major player in the telecoms equipment market. However telecoms has emerged as a source of tension between Beijing and Washington, with Huawei frozen out of the US market on national security grounds.

US President Donald Trump has said he wants America to take the lead with 6G, adamant he doesn’t want the country to be left behind. However no specific measures have been enacted and there is still no consensus on what from 6G networks will take.

Samsung is already working on 6G in South Korea, while the €251 million 6Genesis project in Northern Finland has also also begun research.

Leaders of the project told TechRadar Pro last year that 6G would fulfil the capacity and latency promise of 5G by delivering the architectural shifts required and through the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is also thought that 6G will deliver speeds of up to 1Tbps.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.