By Anne Morris
Nokia readies 4G launch on the moon
Nokia is showcasing two key Bell Labs’ research initiatives at MWC23 Barcelona: its mission to the Moon, with plans to build the first-ever lunar cellular network based on 4G; and a preview of its vision for future 6G use cases.
Nokia is working with NASA to deploy an LTE network on the Moon to demonstrate how advanced cellular technologies can be used for critical communications in future planetary exploration.
According to Thierry Klein, President, Bell Labs Solutions Research at Nokia Bell Labs, the project started in 2020 and is on track to launch later in 2023. It will last for a total of two weeks, or the duration of a lunar day. Partners include Intuitive Machines and Lunar Outpost, which is building the rover for the project.
As for 6G, Nokia is showcasing what Peter Vetter, President of Bell Labs Core Research, described as “a real 6G system” on its stand. While acknowledging that 6G will not be available until the 2030s, Vetter indicated that Nokia is keen to showcase innovations such as 6G sensing, which allows all manner of objects, as well as human beings, to be localised.
Nishant Batra, Chief Strategy and Technology Officer at Nokia, noted that the vendor does not want to repeat the mistakes it made with 5G as the industry moves towards the sixth generation of mobile technology.
Indeed, it has been well documented that Nokia was late with 5G. However, it plans to be a market leader in 5G Advanced, which it believes will then provide a stepping stone to leadership in 6G.