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Technology

Beyond 5G: Sony, NTT and Intel to form 6G partnership

Advanced chips, plus phones that need just one charge a year, are on agenda

Sony, NTT and Intel will work together to develop 6G technology.

TOKYO -- Sony, NTT, and Intel will form a partnership to work on 6G mobile network technology, which is expected to be introduced around 2030, the companies announced on Thursday.

Fifth-generation networks are only just being switched on, but the trio wants to establish an organization for the sixth generation in the U.S. by next spring. The three partners intend to invite other major global companies to participate, including players from China.

One goal is to develop more advanced semiconductors. The initiative might even put to rest complaints about phone battery life: The companies hope to create smartphones that can last up to a year on a single charge.

While 5G is already up and running in South Korea and some U.S. cities, and Chinese carriers are about to launch the world's largest 5G network this week, Japanese telecom companies plan to start their new services next spring. Meanwhile, Western companies like U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm, Finland's Nokia and Sweden's Ericsson have raced to the front of the chip competition, with China's Huawei Technologies also snagging patents and building up its development capabilities.

Sony and NTT hope to gain an edge by teaming up with Intel.

The specifics of 6G chips and telecom standards will be decided in a few years. On a trial basis, NTT has already successfully produced chips that run on light, consuming one-hundredth of the power used by conventional chips. The company aims to use the partnership to speed up progress toward mass production.

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