Nokia CEO says 6G will arrive in 2030 and AR glasses will overtake the phone

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

Elizabeth Schulze | CNBC

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

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

Headquartered in Finland, Nokia builds telecom networks that allow phones and other internet-connected devices to communicate with each other.

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

“By that time, surely the smartphone as we know it today will no longer be the most common interface,” he said. “A lot of these things will be built right into our bodies.”

He didn’t specify exactly what he meant, but some companies, like Elon Musk’s Neuralink, are working to produce electronic devices that can be implanted in the brain and used to communicate with machines and other people. On a more basic level, chips can be implanted in people’s fingers and used to unlock things.

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

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

“It will be things like having glasses and being able to translate while speaking with glasses,” she added. “They are very close.”

Google previously launched an AR headset called Google Glass, but eventually pulled it off after the device failed to gain traction.

The tech leaders also discussed the opportunities and challenges presented by the metaverse.

By 2030, Lundmark said he believes there will be a “digital twin of everything” that will require “enormous computing resources.”

To transmit all the computer bits the metaverse needs, networks need to be at least 100 times or even 1,000 times faster than they are today, Lundmark said.

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