AT&T, Ericsson execs to lead 6G strategy for U.S. coalition

ATIS’ Next G Alliance is setting work in motion for a roadmap to 6G, appointing AT&T and Ericsson executives to lead efforts on overall strategy and direction for the North American coalition.

AT&T EVP and CTO Andre Fuetsch was elected chair of the group’s executive governing body, with Ericsson Head of Technology Office Silicon Valley Jan Söderström serving as vice chair.

In addition to strategy, the Full Member Group (FMG) sets organizational policies for the Next G Alliance.

AT&T, Nokia and VMware are taking on leadership of a Steering Group (SG) focused on R&D, standards strategy and policies for market readiness. The three co-chairs include AT&T Assistant Vice President of Standards & Industry Alliances Brian Daly, Nokia Head of North American Standardization Devaki Chandramouli, and VMware Director of Edge & AI Ecosystems for the Telco Cloud Business unit Benoit Pelletier.

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The 45-member coalition, which formed last October, also established two working groups to dive into priorities including a 6G roadmap. Another “Green G” working group is tasked with evaluating the environmental impact from sources like water and materials consumption, with a wider focus on sustainability and energy efficiency from reduced power consumption.

6G is still very much a long-term initiative, with formal definitions and standards yet to be determined. In general, 2030 is often cited as a loose timeline for initial commercialization and deployments. But regions like North America, China, and Europe are among those starting efforts to shape their vision of the next technology generation, with respective eyes on wireless leadership.

For the Next G Alliance, initially that means developing a National 6G Roadmap to set the foundation for what it said will be a common vision and destination point for leading in 6G. 

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The group has a comprehensive scope, looking to influence and help drive 6G from the start of R&D up to market readiness. Specifically, the National 6G Roadmap will define research needs, technology developments, service and application enablers, along with policies and government actions, and market priorities.

“While innovation frequently occurs in response to market needs, long-term technology leadership takes strategic foresight and critical stakeholders committed to reaching the desired future state,” said ATIS President and CEO Susan Miller, in a statement. “With its leadership set and work on both sustainability and the 6G Roadmap launched, the Next G Alliance is well positioned to create a national vision for the next decade.”

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The Next G Alliance counts U.S. carriers Verizon, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular, and Canadian operators Bell Canada and Telus among founding members. Tech giants, device makers, and software and equipment vendors are also in the mix of full members. That includes Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Samsung, Ciena, Cisco, Intel, JMA, Mavenir, and others.

Nokia and Ericsson are also involved in 6G efforts in Europe where they hold the respective roles of project lead technical manager for the European Commission’s 6G research initiative project Hexa-X.  

Reports from Chinese state-owned media last week said China is speeding up efforts on 6G, making it a priority for technology research and development over the next five years.