Huawei on Tuesday presented its Brumath plant in Alsace, the very first of the global telecommunications giant to set up outside China. This site will be used to produce components for 5G antennas, a strategic sector in which Huawei is the undisputed leader. Except that Europe would like not to be dependent on the Chinese giant for its mobile networks, because of the suspicions of espionage which hover over him. As a result, while 5G is still in its infancy – particularly in France – the European Union is already preparing the next step by launching projects to develop… 6G. For this, it relies on its champions, Nokia and Ericsson.
A network 100 times faster than 4G
6G, the sixth generation of mobile network, will not be deployed before 2030, when 5G will have to be activated throughout France. It is therefore still a very vague technology: no test has yet been carried out. But telecom equipment manufacturers have already made initial estimates and the promise is tempting: 6G should offer a speed 10 times faster than 5G and 100 times faster than 4G. “Beyond speed, there are several issues, starting with reliability and security. We are increasingly dependent on mobile networks, so they must respect data confidentiality”, explains Viktor Arvidsson, Strategy Director of Ericsson France.
All the uses of 6G are yet to be imagined but, according to him, it will imperatively be an environmental focus, the only way to convince users who are already skeptical about the effects of 5G on humans and nature. “6G will have to support the ecological transition of our societies, for example by supporting the circular economy”, argues Viktor Arvidsson to Europe 1. “The other fundamental point is that the ‘we manage to deploy this network by controlling its energy consumption and remaining within the framework of the objectives set by the Paris Agreement. “
Nokia and Ericsson, competing partners
Europe, which took the 5G turn late, does not want to make the same mistake with 6G. It has therefore launched two projects, Hexa-X and Reindeer, which will last two and three years respectively, one very general and the other focused on antennas. Both are managed by public-private consortia, involving Nokia and Ericsson, institutional players, manufacturers, research organizations and operators, including Orange in the case of Hexa-X. Together, these players are responsible for defining a roadmap to make Europe the technological leader in 6G.
“We are in the right timing,” said Viktor Arvidsson, who refuses opposition with Huawei. “It’s important to have collaborative projects. We don’t want to run against an adversary but with partners. There are major players in Europe in digital and telecommunications”, asserts the director of strategy of Ericsson. France. In fact, Nokia and Ericsson, competing on the same market, will work together in this first phase of development, the only way for Europe to hope to compete with Chinese and American projects.