I write this few lines assuming the risk to read it again in ten years from now and realize that I am wrong: The 5th generation of 3GPP mobile networks will be the last one.
I am not predicting any catastrophe, neither the crash of the telecommunications business nor the end of any era. I just think that 5G will be the last “G” because it’s implementation can only take us to two scenarios in ten years time: (1) 5G works perfectly and -by definition-, is flexible enough to cope with any new demand, and completely converged with fixed networks, so there is no need of going further with defining next generations of Mobile Networks, or (2) the requirements of future connectivity, bandwidth, mobility and services are so high that only optical links like the –primitive, so far- LiFi approach can cope with, and then the RANs will have found their last frontier, with an evolution limited to smaller incremental improvements to keep serving high-mobility medium-range 1Gbps users.
So, I vouch that there won’t exist a “6th generation”, and if there is one, will be only a way to give a new brand name to the evolution of the (very successful) actual 5G concept.
Vice-Chair of COST IC15104 IRACON