AT&T's Andre Fuetsch and Ericsson's Jan Söderström will take leadership positions in the Next G Alliance, a trade group formed specifically to manage North America's progress toward 6G.
The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) is fronting the work of the Next G Alliance, which voted on its leadership group as well as its "6G Roadmap."
In terms of leadership, AT&T's Fuetsch – the operator's CTO – will be the chair of the Next G Alliance's executive governing body. Ericsson's Söderström – head of the vendor's Silicon Valley tech office – will be the group's vice chair. Both will serve two-year terms.
AT&T's Brian Daly, Nokia's Devaki Chandramouli and VMware's Benoit Pelletier will lead the Next G Alliance's steering group.
As for the group's 6G Roadmap, it will deliver "a common vision and destination point for achieving North American 6G wireless leadership," the association said in a release. "It will define what is needed in terms of research needs, technology developments, service and application enablers, policies and government actions and market priorities."
Based on the group's "operating procedures" document, the Next G Alliance is very clearly focused on the development of 6G for US companies. "Organizations included on the US Department of Commerce's Entity List and Denied Person's List that are subject to export, re-export and/or transfer licensing requirements are not eligible to participate in the Next G Alliance," the group noted. That would forbid companies like China's Huawei from joining the association.
Members of the Next G Alliance include Apple, Charter Communications, Cisco, Google, Intel, Qualcomm, T-Mobile and Verizon.
Perhaps not surprisingly, other countries are engaged in similar efforts around 6G. For example, the European Union's CEA-Leti recently announced the launch of a 6G research project that includes Orange, Telecom Italia, NEC and others. And top Chinese officials have positioned 6G as a leading priority in the country's economic development plan for the next five years.
"China will accelerate the research and development of 6G technologies, the construction of the large-scale 5G network, as well as the large-scale application of Internet Protocol version 6 – the latest worldwide modality aimed at making the internet bigger, faster and more secure," Yang Xiaowei, deputy head of the Cyberspace Administration of China, said at a news briefing in Beijing, according to the country's state-owned newspaper China Daily.
Such developments could eventually create friction in standards associations like the 3GPP, which is tasked with creating one set of 5G standards for operators and vendors across the world. Importantly, the 3GPP just announced the results of its own leadership elections for two-year terms.
The group counts three main Technical Specification Groups (TSGs): Service and System Aspects, Core Network and Terminals and Radio Access Network. The 3GPP announced that Huawei's Georg Mayer ran unopposed for re-election to the chairmanship of the Service and System Aspects TSG, as did Orange's Lionel Morand for the chairmanship of the Core Network and Terminals TSG.
But Nokia's Balazs Bertenyi has already served two full terms as the chairman of the Radio Access Network TSG. According to Prakash Sangam of Tantra Analyst, who closely follows the 3GPP's activities, Qualcomm's Wanshi Chen managed to win the chairmanship position after more than a year of electioneering and two runoffs. He beat Nokia's Mathew Baker, Intel's Richard Burbidge and China Mobile's Xu Xiaodong for the position.
In announcing the news, Qualcomm's Lorenzo Casaccia wrote that Chen's election to the 3GPP's most important position "validates the leadership Qualcomm brings to the mobile industry and its commitment to [a] single global standard for cellular technologies."
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