27 Jun 2024

UK SPF Event Round-up: Future Communications and 6G

The UK SPF co-sponsored an international workshop with the University of Strathclyde, in Glasgow. In the two-day event, experts from industry, academia, and government from around the world spoke on the challenges and opportunities around 6G.

Overall, panellists and presenters aimed to answer two key questions around the next generation for broadband.

  • How to allow 6G?
  • How to do it by enabling international collaboration?

The event featured a UK SPF Cluster 2 workshop on Future Policies Framework and Spectrum Requirements, led by the UK SPF Chairperson, Dr. Abhaya Sumanasena, and with the participation of speakers from member companies, along with the Cluster 2 Chair, Prof. Robert Stewart.

Future Policies Framework and Spectrum Requirements

The deployment and management of spectrum are crucial for the advancement of connectivity technologies. While modern technologies do enhance spectrum utilization, spectrum sharing is becoming increasingly important due to the scarcity of available spectrum bands.

In the UK, data consumption is concentrated in specific areas, prompting regulators to explore additional capacity layers in critical locations like ports and warehouses. Addressing the growing indoor traffic is another complexity that requires innovative solutions. Ofcom's Shared Access Licensing for local networks, which allows for increased interference and denser deployments, is a step in the right direction. These measures, assuming proper synchronization, could potentially increase spectrum availability significantly.

Within this context, the journey towards 6G is ongoing, with a focus on evolving technologies rather than rushing its deployment. The 3GPP, responsible for mobile standards, has begun studies for IMT-2030, paving the way for future advancements. Within these advances, spectrum utilization must be aligned with commercial demand, and regulators must consider the availability of spectrum to meet traffic demands.

Policy makers face the challenge of ensuring network deployments are scalable and cost-effective. This includes reducing license fees and improving the planning process to support service providers. Regulation should be designed to avoid unnecessary burdens while establishing a level playing field. This requires innovative approaches and cooperation from the research community to optimize spectrum usage and address competition and regulatory issues.

Understanding the changing needs for spectrum and exploring innovative sharing models is essential. The 6G challenge involves developing technologies that provide seamless connectivity indoors and outdoors. The use of AI and software-defined radio can facilitate faster licensing and more efficient spectrum management, potentially accelerating the adoption of advanced connectivity technologies.

Collaboration among various stakeholders, including researchers and industry players, is crucial for effective spectrum sharing. Given the scarcity of available bands, regulatory developments should focus in attending both outdoor and indoor data consumption.

The journey towards 6G involves ongoing studies and preparations, emphasizing the need for harmonized global standards and minimized hardware investments. Collaboration among stakeholders, companies, and researchers for the use of AI and software-defined radio are essential for optimizing spectrum usage, ensuring efficient network deployments, and driving the adoption of advanced connectivity technologies.

5G development toward the 6G roadmap

The development and deployment of 5G technology globally face significant challenges, despite its promising capabilities. Beyond spectrum concerns, ensuring that new 5G specifications and upcoming 6G technologies can coexist and interoperate with legacy equipment presents a considerable technical challenge.

Despite these challenges, 5G is demonstrating substantial growth, particularly in mobile broadband, with traffic increasing more rapidly than during the initial launch of 4G. This growth is driven by the technology's ability to deliver enhanced mobile broadband capacity.

However, in industrial applications, even though 5G has the potential to offer significant productivity gains across various sectors we are still to experience the benefits and increase in technology's penetration across industries.

The future of 6G promises higher frequencies and bandwidths, with AI playing a pivotal role in addressing the complexities of new use cases. The integration of chipmakers, hyperscalers, and satellite operators will be crucial for the ecosystem.

Each generation of mobile broadband technology brings new challenges. Geopolitical factors and the need for consistent standards further complicate the landscape. Nonetheless, advancements in AI and the integration of cloud computing are expected to revolutionize connectivity, making it more efficient and ubiquitous.

Operators and stakeholders must continue to address these challenges, focusing on energy efficiency, data management, and innovative business models to unlock the full potential of future generations of mobile broadband technology.

Contact us

To learn more about the UK SPF, please contact the team below.

Sophie Greaves

Sophie Greaves

Head of Telecoms and Spectrum Policy, techUK

Sophie Greaves is Head of Programme for Communications Infrastructure and Services at techUK, and oversees the UK Spectrum Policy Forum.

Sophie was promoted to Head having been Programme Manager for Communications Infrastructure and Services, leading techUK's telecoms activities, engagement and policy development. Previously, Sophie was Programme Assistant across a variety of areas including the Broadband Stakeholder Group, Central Government, Financial Services and Communications Infrastructure programmes.

Prior to joining techUK, Sophie completed a masters in Film Studies at University College London; her dissertation examined US telecoms policy relating to net neutrality and content distribution.

Email:
[email protected]
Phone:
020 7331 2038
Twitter:
@SJMJames1
LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/sophiegreaves/

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Tales Gaspar

Tales Gaspar

Programme Manager, UK SPF and Satellite, techUK

Tales has a background in law and economics, with previous experience in the regulation of new technologies and infrastructure.

In the UK and Europe, he offered consultancy on intellectual property rights of cellular and IoT technologies and on the regulatory procedures at the ITU as a Global Fellow at the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI).

Tales has an LL.M in Law and Business by the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) and an MSc in Regulation at the London School of Economics, with a specialization in Government and Law.

Email:
[email protected]
Phone:
+44 (0) 0207 331 2000
Website:
www.techUK.org
LinkedIn:
www.linkedin.com/in/talesngaspar

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Jaynesh Patel

Jaynesh Patel

Head of Telecoms and Spectrum Policy, techUK

Jaynesh Patel is Head of Telecoms and Spectrum Policy, leading the Communications Infrastructure and Services Programme at techUK and overseeing the UK Spectrum Policy Forum.

Jaynesh has extensive experience in the sector, having worked for CityFibre (a full fibre broadband company) and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) on digital infrastructure policy. Most recently Jaynesh led on policy and public affairs in the UK and Ireland for ChargePoint (an EV charging network).

Prior to this Jaynesh worked in the Cabinet Office for more than five years, including over two years at the Government Digital Service (GDS) supporting the digital transformation of UK Government.

Jaynesh has a BSc (Hons) in Economics from the London School of Economics (LSE).

Email:
[email protected]
LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/jayneshpatel/

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Matthew Wild

Programme Assistant - Markets, techUK

Matthew joined techUK in August 2023 as a Programme Assistant, supporting the Communications Infrastructure programme, as well as the Digital Connectivity and Spectrum Policy Fora.

Before joining techUK, Matthew worked in marketing, data, and events across a number of sectors, including education and consumer goods. He studied German and Dutch at University College London and the Universiteit van Amsterdam.

Email:
[email protected]
Phone:
020 7331 2000

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