Nokia partners with Indian Institute of Science on 6G R&D

Nokia partners with Indian Institute of Science on 6G R&D

Nokia announced on Friday it has signed a partnership deal with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) to jointly research 6G technologies and 6G use cases for India.

Under the partnership, Nokia and IISc will work together in Nokia’s 6G Lab in Bengaluru to focus on three core areas of research: 6G radio technologies, 6G architecture and the application of machine learning (ML) into the 6G air interface.

The two organisations aim to develop reference architectures, software frameworks and algorithms to be continued to the 6G technology and standards ecosystem.

While the 6G research will have global applications, Nokia and IISc will also drill down on 6G use cases that specifically address the needs of the Indian market,  such as making use of AI and developing "network as sensor" technologies to improve transportation safety, augment healthcare and increase access to education.

Nokia and IISc will also research 6G applications to enable better network sustainability and energy efficiency, as well as improved resiliency and reliability of networks for critical communications.

Nishant Batra, chief strategy and technology officer at Nokia, said the partnership would further India’s ‘Bharat 6G Vision,’ which aims to position India as a key global contributor to the design, development and implementation of 6G technology. “And by exploring 6G use cases specific to India, we will ensure that 6G addresses the unique needs of the subcontinent.”

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has been laying the groundwork for 6G development under the ‘Bharat 6G’ programme since 2021, with the aim of making sure India-specific requirements (summed up as affordability, sustainability and ubiquitous connectivity and intelligence) are included in the global IMT-2030 6G standard that eventually emerges from the International Telecommunication Union around 2030.

The ITU completed its 6G Framework in June 2023. The DoT said that it had successfully lobbied the ITU to include ubiquitous connectivity, ubiquitous intelligence and sustainability as key elements of 6G. In July last year, Minister of Communications and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw said India had already obtained “over 200 patents” for 6G technology from international organisations.

Nokia said the collaboration with IISc is the first such partnership to emerge from its 6G Lab, which it launched in October last year at its global R&D center in Bengaluru. That same month, rival telecoms vendor Ericsson launched its ‘India 6G’ research team in its R&D Center in Chennai to supplement its global efforts to develop 6G technologies.

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