5G doesn't yet have its "wings," but that isn't stopping major telecom player Huawei from thinking and moving ahead. The 5G patent holder has started work on 6G wireless technology at its Ottawa, Canada research lab, The Logic reports.
6G is on the horizon, but 5G is barely here yet
6G is set to be the next-generation wireless standard after 5G, but 5G is still very much a fledgling technology here in the US. A few 5G phones exist on the market currently, such as Samsung's Galaxy Note 10+ 5G (priced at $1400 USD) and Samsung's Galaxy S10 5G. Motorola has its 5G Moto Mod that will allow Moto Z2 Force, Moto Z3, and Moto Z4 users the opportunity to connect to Verizon Wireless' 5G network. Samsung has yet to re-release its Galaxy Fold smartphone, though, when it arrives on the market (again) this September, it will have a 5G version as well.
Huawei's Mate 20 X 5G model is the Chinese vendor's first 5G certified smartphone, though, with Huawei's role as a major 5G player and patent holder of 15% of 5G standards-essential patents, it will be at the forefront of 6G as well. 6G isn't expected to arrive on the market until 2030 at the earliest, with another 10-12 years to go before the first 6G signals are recorded.
6Genesis, an eight-year research program on 6G at the University of Oulu's Centre for Wireless Communications, intends to spearhead the move from 5G to 6G. The research study has confirmed 2030 as the year of 6G. 6Genesis also says that some of the technological advancements consumers can expect from 6G are: low latency in real time, augmented projections, physical to cyber fusion, autonomous health blood samples, smart clothing, holographic communication and hologram UIs, 3D IoT design, printed electronics and smart materials, mobility-as-a-service, smart cities, context-aware buildings, blockchain, facial scans for bio-cybernetic identity, autonomous ports, and smart screens.
Huawei's mobile rival, Samsung Electronics, has already started research on 6G as well. Samsung created the Advanced Communications Research Center under the company's R&D organization, Samsung Research, for the purpose of researching 6G technology, the Korea Herald reported back in June.
Huawei and 5G patent royalties
While Huawei holds a sizeable number of 5G patents, it has been kind to those who owe it patent royalties. The gloves came off, however, once Huawei was placed on the US Entity List back in mid-May due to the Executive Order of US President Donald J. Trump. Huawei has been banned from buying goods in the US, and American companies have been banned from selling to Huawei.
The President rethought his stance, however, allowing high-tech companies such as Qualcomm, Intel, Micron, and others to sell to Huawei because of the $11 billion the company invests in the American economy annually. Even now, companies are still being granted licenses to sell to Huawei "as long as it doesn't impact national security," the Trump administration says. There is no direct plan by which businesses will be denied selling licenses, so Trump's policy is more along the lines of "playing it by ear."
In response to the Trump Ban, and as a way to strike back at the US, Huawei called up Verizon Wireless to remind the company of its $1 billion patent licensing fees it owes to Shenzhen's Pride. This licensing fee call-in has moved Congress to work towards legislation that will prevent banned companies from gathering patent licensing fees in the banned country while forbidden to do business there.
Huawei has been banned from not only buying from many vendors, but also from selling its mobile devices and telecom gear here in the US. With Huawei's espionage work in the African governments of Uganda and Zambia (per the Wall Street Journal), the US is justified in not allowing Huawei to sell its telecommunications equipment to government officials and citizen public alike. Huawei's 5G telecom gear is as closed-source as its 4G telecom gear, leaving Huawei without a check system in place for third-party evaluations.
This leaves open the possibility that Huawei could spy on the US or any other country, for that matter, unhindered and unchecked in its illegal activity. Huawei told NPR it would sign "No Spy" agreements with international countries, but a paper agreement means little when Huawei has unfettered access to networks that feature its telecom gear and mobile devices, or networks where Huawei helps deploy 5G spectrum. Telecom gear can be used, without evaluation, to export data back to China.