Sunday, January 26, 2014

"5G Movie in a second": Korea intends to maintain its lead in speed

A few days ago, as reported in a Korean language news bulletin largely translated by AFP,  the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning announced the Korean government's intention to introduce a 5G wireless service fast enough to download a full length movie in one second. "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. "Countries in Europe, China and the US are making aggressive efforts to develop 5G technology ... and we believe there will be fierce competition in this market in a few years," it said. Under the roadmap, a trial 5G service will be rolled out in 2017 and a fully commercial service in December 2020. Priority will be given to developing key features for the new network, including Ultra-HD and hologram transmission as well as cutting-edge social networking services. The Korean language news release specifically mentions implementation of R&D projects in connection with the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics. A major goal of this project is to make Korea more competitive in the network infrastructure equipment market globally. According to the Future Ministry, Korea currently has only a 4.4 percent share of this market. AFP reported that "Chinese equipment makers including Huawei have expanded their presence in the global market from 12 percent in 2007 to 26 percent in 2012. Huawei announced in November that it was looking at a 5G commercial rollout by 2020, with a minimum investment of $600 million to develop the technology. Seoul intends to take up to a 20 percent stake in the world's telecom infrastructure equipment market by 2020, according to the ministry." This announcement by South Korea's leading ICT-sector ministry is hardly surprising given the nation's track record in recent decades. Many expect Korea to be a major player in development of the world's next generation network infrastructure. However, as noted in earlier posts, the real value to be created by next generation networks will be in the content, services and software that run on them.

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