6G, virtual SIM cards, network on the Moon: telecoms looking to the future

While 5G is still slow to bring out new uses since its launch in 2020, telecom equipment manufacturers like Nokia are already preparing the next generation of mobile networks by 2030. In Barcelona, ​​the Finnish rival of Ericsson and Huawei demonstrated of the “detection” of the human body by 6G, one of the six use cases identified by its research teams.

Like a radar, the sixth-generation mobile antenna will be able to use its radio waves to detect people, objects or animals in its field of emission, without a SIM card being integrated into the body or to the object in question.

“We believe that by the end of this decade, it will be very important that the physical world, the digital world and the human world can somehow merge into a new reality”explains to AFP Rudi Broos, head of technology marketing, strategy and technology at Nokia.

Network on the Moon

Objective Moon for Nokia and NASA: announced in 2020, this $14.1 million contract signed with the American Space Agency should enable the installation of the first operational mobile telephone network on the Moon, where the man’s last step dates back to 1972.

Initially announced for the end of 2022, this 4G network “ultra-compact, energy efficient and resistant to space conditions”is to be deployed on the surface of the Moon by the end of 2023, the company said this week.

Concretely, Nokia will install a sort of mini-tower in a device from its partner Intuitive Machines, which will communicate with an antenna located on a four-wheeled “rover”, equipped with solar panels.

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“Once we are able to deploy a network on the Moon, we will be able to use this same technology on Earth”in technically demanding locations, “as [l’installation d’]a network inside a mine, on an oil rig, or near wind farms”emphasizes Rudi Broos.

Virtual SIMs

From embedded SIMs (eSIMs) to virtual SIMs (iSIMs): since the acquisition in 2019 of Gemalto, the world smart card giant, Thales has pushed innovation even further around its electronic components that allow terminals to connect to the network. mobile.

If the SIM card has experienced increasing miniaturization over time (mini, micro, nano), it is its integrated version (eSIM), namely an electronic device directly implanted in devices (smartphones, tablet computers, etc.. .), which is now taking off. According to Juniper Research, the eSIM market is expected to reach $16 billion by 2027.

In Barcelona, ​​the French group announced on Tuesday the launch of the “first” secure and certified iSIM in partnership with Qualcomm, the American manufacturer of electronic components for mobile terminals.

“It’s the next step”, explains to AFP Guillaume Lafaix, vice-president of integrated solutions, mobile and connectivity of Thales. Actually, “we eliminate the components (of the SIM) and we come to install the software function of [celle-ci] in the Qualcomm component that is used to connect the object to the mobile network.”

Mobile Chip Distributor

While waiting for the complete dematerialization of SIMs, Thales has also set up a prototype (already tested during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar) of a new kind of vending machine to obtain your SIM card, physical or digital (eSIM), as one can do to obtain banknotes.

To do this, simply scan your identity document. This information, verified by Thales servers, is then automatically sent to the telecom operator’s customer database.

A facial recognition system via integrated cameras finishes verifying the identity. Once the choice of the offer and the payment by credit card have been made, a printed and ready-to-use physical SIM card comes out instead of the usual banknotes.

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