DoCoMo, NTT sign 6G pact with Fujitsu, NEC, Nokia

It’s not too early to get on the 6G bandwagon. Japan’s Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) and NTT DoCoMo today announced their collaboration with vendors Fujitsu, NEC and Nokia to conduct trials for the targeted commercial launch of 6G services by around 2030.

Since wireless typically runs in 10-year cycles, the time is about right to get experiments going on 6G. Some say the next generation of wireless will need to solve the problems that 5G isn’t able to crack. Others say the industry can’t wait for 6G to reduce energy usage and emissions.

Whatever the impetus, 6G is coming and according to DoCoMo, it’s going to require verification of a number of new mobile technologies. Both DoCoMo and NTT will jointly conduct experimental trials with the three vendors, including the verification of AI-based wireless transmission methods.

"6G studies are progressing two or three years ahead of that of 5G,” said DoCoMo CTO and EVP Naoki Tani in a statement. “From this early stage, we would like to collaborate with world-leading global vendors to proactively demonstrate breakthrough concepts and technologies and promote them to the world."

Innovative Optical and Wireless Network (IOWN) is an advanced communications infrastructure incorporating photonics, computing and other technologies to realize a smarter world promoted by IOWN Global Forum. (NTT DoCoMo )


According to NEC, 6G will require dramatic advances in communications technology to achieve 10 to 100 times higher speeds and capacities than 5G, with ultra-low power consumption of 1/100 and coverage that “reaches from the depths of the ocean to the heights of outer space.”

NEC will work with DoCoMo and NTT on a distributed MIMO technology and orbital angular momentum (OAM) multiplex transmission technology that realizes large capacity by spatial multiplexing of high-frequency band radio waves.

NEC also plans to conduct R&D on device technologies for reducing size and power consumption, as well as high-precision beamforming technologies, transmission methods and propagation models suitable for high frequency bands. This is in addition to the development of optimization and signal processing technologies using AI.  

Fujitsu will conduct trials at 100 and 300 GHz and also focus on distributed MIMO. Part of its mission is to develop technology that is resistant to obstruction and realizes stable high-speed wireless communication over 100 Gbps, according to Fujitsu.

The tests with Nokia will involve an AI-based 6G air interface, with experiments conducted at DoCoMo and NTT premises in Japan as well as Nokia premises in Stuttgart, Germany. Part of their goal is to show that high-data rate beamformed access can be achieved in a high frequency band at 140 GHz.

DoCoMo and NTT said they will begin conducting indoor trials within the fiscal year ending in March 2023, and outdoor trials will begin in the following fiscal year. The trials are expected to verify concepts proposed so far by DoCoMo and NTT and will be reported in global research groups, international conferences and standardization activities related to 6G.