Chinese vendor ZTE and compatriot carrier China Unicom have reached an agreement for the development of “6G” technologies, ZTE said in a release.

Based on China Unicom’s network, both companies will jointly explore the prospect and technical trends of 6G. According to the industry, 6G technology  is expected to be commercialized around 2030.

Under the terms of the agreement, ZTE and China Unicom will carry out cooperation on 6G technological innovation and standards while actively promoting the in-depth integration of 6G with satellite networks, the internet of things (IoT), the internet of vehicles, and industrial IoT.

Moreover, the two parties will conduct joint research on the potential key technologies of 6G, including three dimensional connectivity, terahertz communication, and the integrated communication and sensing. ZTE and China Unicom will also verify the feasibility of these technologies through both the verification tests and the prototyping trials to achieve the 6G network performance targets, such as the peak data rate of 1 Tbps, the user experienced data rate of 20 Gbps and the volume traffic capacity of 100Gbps/m3.

ZTE’s Chief Scientist Xiang Jiying told reporters during MWC Barcelona 2019 that the Chinese vendor was already researching future 6G technologies. “We have a research group focusing on that. This group is called advanced technologies, which would be those technologies beyond 5G,” the executive said.

China had officially started researching 6G technology in November 2019, a few days after state-run telecom operators  launched 5G networks in the country.

The Ministry of Science and Technology said that it expected to set up two working groups to carry out the 6G research activities.

One group will consist of relevant government departments responsible for promoting how 6G research and development will be carried out. The other group will be made up of 37 universities, research institutes and companies, which will exclusively focus on the technical side of 6G technologies.

However, the Chinese government believes that there is still a long way until 6G technology can be defined. Vice Minister Wang Xi of the Ministry of Science and Technology said: “The initial stage and the technical route [of 6G]is still not clear, and the key indicators and application scenarios have not been standardized and defined.”

According to previous press reports, Chinese vendor Huawei had also begun research on future 6G technology.

Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei had told a CNBC-hosted panel that the company began to carry out research activities on 6G “a long time ago,” and has parallel work being done on 5G and 6G — but that it’s in an “early phase”.

Ren also said that there’s still “a long way to go” before commercialization of 6G, which according to the executive is still “ten years out.”

Huawei has started research on future 6G mobile technology at its research facility in Ottawa, Canada, tech site The Logic recently reported.

China is not the only country to be actively researching on 6G technology. Countries like Japan, Korea and Finland all have research projects underway into the next generation of wireless technology.

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