IMT-2030 Starts Today… (And Don’t Call It 6G)

Posted on 8th May 2019

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While it may be 10+ years away, standards bodies such as the ITU-T and ETSI are already looking beyond IMT-2020 (more commonly known as 5G) and towards IMT-2030. Companies involved in the use, deployment and manufacturing of communications technologies have the chance to learn about this ubiquitous mobile technology and participate in the discussion of its deployment as it begins.

What is it?

IMT-2030 (we will avoid calling it 6G, more on this later) is designed to provide a revolutionary new user experience with connection speeds in the Terabits/s range per user and a whole new array of sensory information such as touch, taste and smell.

Building on the comprehensive upgrade of network equipment expected for 5G, IMT-2030 will be a hybrid network consisting of disparate networks including fixed, mobile cellular, high-altitude platforms, satellites and others yet to be defined. Unlike 2G in 1991 or 4G in 2009,  IMT-2030 will not replace existing infrastructure but serve as an upgrade rather than a new generation of mobile technology, hence why we don’t want to call it 6G.

This cost-saving approach should be similar to the Wi-Fi playbook, allowing equipment to be backwards-compatible with previous generations, reducing the need for additional spectrum and potentially sating the famous appetite of the mobile industry for additional spectrum.

Operating these many networks seamlessly will likely require high levels of artificial intelligence as well as Software Defined Radio technology. Comprehensive data security will also need to be a core feature of IMT-2030 to protect data transiting across multiple networks.

What’ll it Do?

IMT-2030 will bring previously fictional technology capabilities within the reach of users: three-dimensional holographs providing fully-immersive virtual and augmented reality and an extraordinary user communications experience.  Novel applications could allow users to feel material objects in holographic form, taste food samples in a kind of virtual reality, and even smell samples thanks to innovative digital scent technologies.

Taking the First Step

Planning for IMT-2030 should be on the list of strategic considerations for all technology and communications firms. The opportunity to shape the debate to your advantage begins now and, if seized in good time, can ensure a company’s long-term ability to drive and profit from these new networks.


Access Partnership has shaped the development of global policy and standards for the past twenty years.  We enable you to own the debate in international fora and augment your experience with our own knowledge of the technologies IMT-2030 will employ such as AI, SDR, HAPS and satellite networks. Access Partnership provides actionable intelligence on emerging standards (ITU, ETSI, etc.), data policy, security and trust matters to assist you in gaining market access, and can help you predict regulations around IMT-2030.

Author: Chris Adams, Consultant, Access Partnership

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