4 March 2021

Peter Stuckmann is currently managing the Commission’s policy on 5G communication systems and the related research and innovation programme.

The Commission has adopted a legislative proposal for the upcoming European partnership on Smart Networks and Services (SNS) towards 6G.


From 5G to 6G

5G technology and standards will evolve over the next few years as deployment advances. Operators in 23 EU Member States have launched commercial 5G networks in major cities. 5G technology is expected to evolve towards new ‘stand-alone’ 5G core networks enabling industrial applications such as Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) and industry 4.0.

These applications are the first step towards digitising and greening our entire economy. Advanced 5G infrastructures are also an important starting point for 6G technologies in Europe. The growth potential in economic activity enabled by 5G and 6G networks and services is estimated to be reach around €3 trillion by 2030 (McKinsey Global Institute, 2/2020).

What is 6G?

6G systems will move us from Gigabit to Terabit capacities and sub-millisecond response times. This will enable new applications such as real-time automation or extended reality sensing (“Internet of Senses”), collecting data for a digital twin of the physical world.

Research and Innovation (R&I) initiatives on 6G technologies are now starting around the world, with the first products and infrastructures expected for the end of this decade.

In Europe, a first set of 6G projects worth €60 million was launched under the 5G-PPP, with the Hexa-X flagship developing a first 6G system concept complemented by eight projects investigating specific technologies for 6G. These technologies will form the basis for a human-centric Next-Generation Internet (NGI) and address Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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