Nokia CEO says 6G will arrive by 2030 and AR glasses will surpass phones

Mehdi Benis, an associate professor at the University of Oulu in Finland, is researching 6G.

Elizabeth Schulze | CNBC

Nokia CEO Pekka Lundmark expects the 6G mobile network to be launched by the end of the decade but he doesn’t think the smartphone will be the most “common interface” by then.

Speaking at a panel of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday, Lundmark said he expects 6G to hit the commercial market by 2030.

Headquartered in Finland, Nokia builds a telecom network that enables phones and other Internet-enabled devices to communicate with each other.

When he thinks the world will move away from using smartphones to using smart glasses and other devices worn on the face, Lundmark said it will happen before 6G arrives.

“Then, for sure, we know that smartphones will no longer be the most common interface today,” he said. “Many of these things will be built directly into our bodies.”

He did not say exactly what he was referring to, but some companies, such as Elon Musk’s Neuralink, are working to create electronic devices that can be placed in the brain and used to communicate with machines and other humans. At a more basic level, chips can be inserted into a person’s finger and used to unlock things.

Elsewhere, US technology giants such as Meta, Google and Microsoft are working on new augmented reality headsets that could one day replace the smartphone.

Speaking on the same panel, Ruth Porat, Google’s CFO, said: “We believe that one of the great benefits of augmented reality is actually solving problems here on Earth.”

“It’s going to be something like having glasses and being able to translate while talking through glasses,” he added. “They’re very close.”

Google had earlier launched an AR headset called Google Glass but eventually pulled it off after the device failed to achieve traction.

Technology leaders also discussed the opportunities and challenges that Metaverse presents.

By 2030, Lundmark has said he believes there will be a “digital pairing of everything” that will require “huge computational resources.”

In order to transmit all the computer bits that Metaverse would require, networks would need to be at least 100 times or even 1,000 times faster than they are today, Lundmark said.

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