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Japan to establish $450 million fund for 6G research

The country is aiming to revitalise its domestic industry to compete with telecoms giants around the world based in Finland, Sweden, and China

Japan is set to establish a $450 million (£400.2 million) fund to support research into 6G as countries around the world are looking to dedicate more resources to the emerging technology.

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The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications is set to dedicate 66.2 billion yen in a second budget for 2023 to create the fund, according to Nikkei Asia. It will be set up and live in the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, and look to provide financial support for 6G research and development for a number of years.

The ministry added that 70% of the global market for mobile base stations belongs to three overseas companies: Huawei in China, Ericsson in Sweden, and Nokia in Finland.

The sector is dominated by these foreign rivals, although some organisations in Japan are competitive when it comes to some of the components used in the base stations.

Although 5G technology is still yet to be rolled out across the globe, the industry has started to gear itself up for 6G. The new technology is expected to be ten times faster than its predecessor, offering peak data rates at 100 Gbits/sec. However, the technology is still early in its research and development cycle, meaning there are no official standards for it.

This hasn’t stopped countries around the world from beginning to invest in it, however. Aside from Japan, India declared in May 2022 that it was hoping to roll out 6G technology by the end of the decade. Despite this, it didn’t outline what the technology would be used for or explain how it would help the country.

Additionally, the UK and South Korea announced in July 2022 that they would collaborate on 5G and 6G development. The UK invested £1.6 million into a competition totalling £3.6 million, alongside South Korea. The money was set to be used to create research and development of interoperable solutions like Open Radio Access Network technology.

Lastly, the US teamed up with Japan in January 2022 to work on creating international standards in unmanned technology that uses 6G. The pair were hoping to prevent Chinese companies from dominating the field, as there’s fierce competition from companies like Alibaba, Tencent, and Huawei.

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