White Paper on 6G Drivers and the UN SDGs

6G Research Visions, No. 2, led by Marja Matinmikko-Blue

Executive Summary

The commercial launch of 6G communications systems and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) are both targeted for 2030. 6G communications are expected to boost global growth and productivity, create new business models and transform many aspects of society. The UN SDGs are a way of framing opportunities and challenges of a desirable future world and cover topics as broad as ending poverty, building gender equality, the fight against climate change and developing smart cities. The relationship between these potentially mutually reinforcing forces is currently under-defined. Building on the vision for 6G, and a review of megatrends, ongoing studies on the relation of mobile communications to the UN SDGs and existing indicators, a novel linkage between 6G and the UN SDGs is proposed. This linkage is via a set of indicators. This white paper also initiates work on a new set of 6G related indicators to guide research on 6G systems. The novel linkage is built on the envisaged three-fold role of 6G as 1) a provider of services to help steer and support communities and countries towards reaching the UN SDGs, 2) a measuring tool for data collection to help the reporting of indicators with hyperlocal granularity, and 3) a reinforcer of new ecosystems based on 6G technology enablers and 6G networks of networks to be developed in line with the UN SDGs which incorporates future mobile communication technologies which will be available in 2030. Related challenges are also identified. An action plan is presented along with prioritized focus areas within the mobile communication sector technology and industry evolution to best support the achievement of the UN SDGs.

This white paper has been written by an international expert group, led by the Finnish 6G Flagship program at the University of Oulu, within a series of twelve 6G white papers published in their final format in 2020.

Please cite:

Matinmikko-Blue, M., Aalto, S., Asghar, M. I., Berndt, H., Chen, Y., Dixit, S., Jurva, R., Karppinen, P., Kekkonen, M., Kinnula, M., Kostakos, P., Lindberg, J., Mutafungwa, E., Ojutkangas, K., Rossi, E., Yrjölä, S., & Öörni, A. (Eds.). (2020). White Paper on 6G Drivers and the UN SDGs. 6G Research Visions, No. 2. University of Oulu. http://urn.fi/urn:isbn:9789526226699

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White Paper


  • We identify megatrends influencing sustainable development of 6G.
  • We develop a novel linkage between 6G and the UN SDGs that are both targeted for 2030.
  • We envisage three-fold role of 6G as a 1) a provider of services to help support activities towards reaching the UN SDGs, 2) a measuring tool for reporting of indicators; and 3) a reinforcer of developing 6G in line with the UN SDG.
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White Paper


Editor in Chief

  • Marja Matinmikko-Blue, University of Oulu, Finland (email: marja.matinmikko at oulu.fi)

Chapter Editors

  • Sirpa Aalto, University of Oulu, Finland (Chapter 1)
  • Muhammad Imran Asghar, Aalto University, Finland (Chapters 1 and 5)
  • Hendrik Berndt, WWRF, Germany (Chapters 2 and 6)
  • Yan Chen, Huawei Technologies, Canada (Chapters 2 and 4)
  • Sudhir Dixit, Basic Internet Foundation, USA (Chapter 6)
  • Risto Jurva, University of Oulu, Finland (Chapter 5)
  • Pasi Karppinen, University of Oulu, Finland (Chapter 3)
  • Markku Kekkonen, University of Oulu, Finland (Chapter 2)
  • Marianne Kinnula, University of Oulu, Finland (Chapter 3)
  • Panagiotis Kostakos, University of Oulu, Finland (Chapter 4)
  • Johanna Lindberg, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden (Chapter 4)
  • Edward Mutafungwa, Aalto University, Finland (Chapter 5)
  • Kirsi Ojutkangas, University of Oulu, Finland (Chapter 4)
  • Elina Rossi, University of Oulu, Finland (Chapter 4)
  • Seppo Yrjölä, Nokia & University of Oulu, Finland (Chapter 3)
  • Anssi Öörni, Åbo Akademi, Finland (Chapters 2, 5 and 6)


  • Petri Ahokangas, Oulu Business School, Finland
  • Muhammad-Zeeshan Asghar, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Fan Chen, ZTE Corporation, China
  • Netta Iivari, University of Oulu, Finland
  • Marcos Katz, University of Oulu, Finland
  • Atte Kinnula, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd., Finland
  • Josef Noll, University of Oslo & Basic Internet Foundation, Norway
  • Harri Oinas-Kukkonen, University of Oulu, Finland
  • Ian Oppermann, NSW Government, Australia
  • Ella Peltonen, University of Oulu, Finland
  • Hanna Saarela, University of Oulu, Finland
  • Harri Saarnisaari, University of Oulu, Finland
  • Anna Suorsa, University of Oulu, Finland
  • Gustav Wikström, Ericsson Research, Sweden
  • Volker Ziegler, Nokia, Germany

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In total, 293 experts took part in writing these papers. Click into our visions on 6G below!