UAE reveals 6G roadmap with targeted launch in 2030

The roadmap seeks to bridge current communication services and future requirements, addressing evolving societal and economic needs
UAE reveals 6G roadmap with targeted launch in 2030
The initiative is a proactive response to the ever-changing landscape of International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT)

The UAE Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) has announced an extensive strategy aimed at spearheading research and studies related to the advancement of “International Mobile Telecommunications” (IMT2030) technology, also known as the sixth generation of mobile networks (6G).

This initiative is a proactive response to the ever-changing landscape of International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT), focusing on detailed technical specifications for the functionality and performance of mobile systems. Its objective is to address the evolving needs of society and the economy, bridging the gap between current communication services and future requirements. It also aims to drive a comprehensive, digitally integrated, and interconnected way of life in the coming years.

The release of this roadmap is in line with the decisions made during the Radiocommunication Assembly 2023 (RA-23), which took place in the UAE from November 13th to 17th, 2023. During the assembly, a resolution was passed urging stakeholders in the communications sector to focus on developing radio technical standards and specifications for the sixth generation of the International Mobile Service (IMT). It’s worth noting that the RA-23 endorsed Recommendation (ITU-R M.2160), which pertains to the 6G framework referred to as IMT-2030, laying the foundation for the future development of network standards.

Driving digital infrastructure enhancement

The roadmap seamlessly aligns with TDRA’s strategic direction of advancing infrastructure through state-of-the-art technological methodologies. It places paramount emphasis on enhancing digital infrastructure, with a specific focus on harnessing the capabilities of 6G. These capabilities include integrated sensing, extensive coverage, and the integration of artificial intelligence, which aim to drive comprehensive intelligence. The roadmap is meticulously designed, taking into account complexities associated with promoting environmental sustainability practices, bridging the digital divide, connecting the unconnected, and fortifying privacy and security measures.

Unleashing the power of 6G, optimizing efficiency and performance

According to the plan, 6G is set to introduce a range of new capabilities, including applications in artificial intelligence, network virtualization, sensing, and comprehensive coverage. At the same time, existing capabilities of 5G will be enhanced, targeting improved efficiency in frequency spectrum utilization, connection density, and traffic management. These advancements aim to optimize performance within specific regions and significantly reduce response time.

Anticipated advancements in 6G foresee the support of innovative use cases, including the global digital transmission of human senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell), characterized by low latency and high accuracy. This breakthrough technology is expected to enhance the capabilities of robotics and elevate artificial intelligence. It holds the potential to revolutionize various domains, including autonomous intelligent transportation systems and transformative developments in healthcare, such as remote surgery and diagnostics. Achieving these groundbreaking technologies requires global availability of additional radio frequencies.

Kickstarting 6G research and development

The roadmap disclosed by TDRA lays out a schedule that begins in 2024 with the establishment of a committee. The committee’s mandate includes conducting scientific studies, research, and the development of technical standards and specifications for 6G. Additionally, it will disseminate these studies on global platforms such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and collaborate with renowned International Standards and Standardization Institutes (IEEE and 3GPP). Notably, Khalifa University will lead this committee within the UAE, with membership extended to manufacturers, operators, and TDRA.

Read more: Etisalat by e& achieves unprecedented global 5G download speeds at GITEX 2023

Facilitating 6G experiments, supporting 6G development

The roadmap also encompasses the potential for conducting 6G experiments to advance the technology within a comprehensive ecosystem, through strategic collaborations with industrial, academic, and governmental sectors. TDRA will play a pivotal role in facilitating these experiments by providing the necessary frequencies and regulatory frameworks. This support, coupled with advanced spectrum management practices enabled by the “ICT Regulatory Sandbox,” will pave the way for the launch and widespread adoption of 6G services in the UAE before 2030.

The UAE’s 6G roadmap aligns seamlessly with global sustainability goals, actively working towards reducing carbon dioxide emissions and energy consumption across diverse industries. Moreover, this ambitious undertaking reflects the UAE’s dedication to maintaining its leading position in telecommunications innovation, with the aim of delivering high-quality, smart, and secure connectivity for the benefit of society and the economy.

In 2018, the UAE became the fourth country globally to deploy 5G, marking a significant technological milestone. As 5G continues to evolve and enhance its capabilities, the current strategic plans include ongoing development of the advanced 5G network (5.5G), with a targeted transition to 6G by 2030.

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