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Japan to earmark $450m for next-gen 6G research fund

Japan is setting up a fund to support research into next-generation 6G wireless networks as the country seeks to spur private investment in the future standard.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications will earmark 66.2 billion yen ($450 million) in the second supplementary budget for fiscal 2023. To be established in the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, the fund will offer financial support for research and development over several years.

6G technology promises to offer communication speeds more than 10 times faster than the current 5G standard. The technology is said to reduce power consumption and could help advance decarbonization efforts. Rollout is expected around 2030.

China’s Huawei, Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia control more than 70% of the global market for mobile base stations, according to the communications ministry.

While Japanese companies are competitive in some components used in these base stations, overseas rivals currently dominate the field.

Japan has advanced technological know-how in optical communications, which is expected to form the backbone of a 6G network. By assisting R&D efforts, the government seeks to cement its technological edge.

The global development race is heating up.

The European Union will be investing 900 million euros ($889 million) in research and development from 2021 to 2027. Germany is investing 700 million euros in its own research, from 2021 to 2025, and China also plans to step up research.

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