South Korea commits $1.5B for 5G development

The rush to 5G is drawing more attention on national and regional levels, as evidenced by this week's announcement that South Korea is dedicating 1.6 trillion won ($1.5 billion) to developing the concept.

Aiming for the usual target date of 2020, South Korea's Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning announced its "5G Creative Mobile Strategy" will develop technology 1,000 times faster than current 4G services. That 1,000-times improvement is also a number cited by other 5G advocates. The ministry said 5G will enable downloading of a 800-megabyte movie file in one second versus 40 seconds using 4G.

"We helped fuel national growth with 2G services in the 1990s, 3G in the 2000s and 4G around 2010. Now it is time to take preemptive action to develop 5G," the ministry said in a statement, which was quoted by AFP.

The ministry added that there will be fierce competition to develop 5G technology, with China, the United States and European countries all vying for a leading role. For example, the European Commission has committed €50 million ($68 million) in research grants to develop 5G technology by 2020, with nearly one-third of that total going to the METIS 2020 research project.

South Korea estimates sales of 5G-related devices and infrastructure equipment will be worth about $3.1 billion from 2020 to 2026.

The nation expects its local mobile operators, including SK Telecom, KT and LGU+, will be able to trial 5G services during 2017 and then introduce commercial services in December 2020. The government said it expects the technology will have advanced enough to enable 5G service demos during the XXIII Olympic Winter Games, which will be held during February 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Key cutting-edge services envisioned for 5G include Ultra-HD and hologram transmission.

Though South Korean mobile device makers have a strong presence worldwide, with Samsung holding an estimated 30 percent stake--the nation's telecom infrastructure equipment industry is weaker, with only a 4.4 percent share in the global market. However, South Korea sees 5G has a way for it to snag a 20 percent stake in the world's telecom infrastructure equipment market by 2020, AFP reported.

Last May, Samsung claimed it had developed a new wireless technique for 5G networks that will enable data downlink speeds of 1 Gbps. The approach relies upon adaptive array transceiver technology operating in the millimeter-wave Ka bands for cellular communications.

Other researchers are also working on millimeter-wave spectrum to enable 5G. In the United States, NYU Wireless, headed by Professor Ted Rappaport, has conducted pioneering research on millimeter-wave propagation characteristics.

For more:
- see this AFP article
- see this ministry release (translated via Google Translate)

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