South Korea Pledges £905m To Roll Out 5G By 2020

South Korea Seoul © SeanPavonePhoto /

South Korea wants to be a world leader in 5G development

The South Korean government is looking to establish the country as a leader in 5G technology and has pledged 1.6 trillion won (£905 million) to rollout next generation mobile services by 2020.

The country is already one of the most connected countries on earth and led the world in 4G adoption rates; now the Ministry of Science says it is taking “pre-emptive” action to gain a head start over its European, Asian and US rivals in the field of 5G development.

“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 pre-emptive action to develop 5G,”the ministry said in a statement to AFP “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.”

South Korea 5G fund

Seoul gangnam buddha south korea © SeanPavonePhotoThe new 5G network would allow users to download an 800 MB film in one second and would allow passengers on bullet trains travelling at speeds of 500 kph (310mph) to access Internet services –more than the current limit of 300kph.

The government hopes to establish a 5G trial by 2017 and priority will be given to developing features such as Ultra HD and hologram transmission as well as next generation social networking services.

It claims that related industries will benefit from the rollout and predicts that operators, manufacturers and equipment makers could generate sales of 331 trillion won between 2020 and 2026.

The ministry hopes to enlist the support of the likes of SK Telecom, Samsung and LG, but also wants to help the nation’s network equipment industry, which commands a far smaller worldwide market share than its device makers, which control 30 percent of the market – mainly through Samsung.

Global battle

Samsung itself is working on 5G technology and last year announced it had achieved speeds of 1Gbps using millimetre wave bands (frequencies around 28GHz), using adaptive array transceiver to overcome previous technical challenges.

However the Chinese government and European Union are also working on 5G, while China’s Huawei has also pledged £374 million towards the research and development of next generation mobile services, having worked on 5G since 2009.

Work on a new 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey is also underway, with a view to opening in January 2015. Backers include the BBC, BT, EE, Fujitsu, Huawei, Samsung, Telefonica and Vodafone, all of whom have pledged time, expertise and other contributions to the project worth more than £30 million.

Communications regulator Ofcom is also preparing for 5G and says it has identified spectrum that could be freed to support the rollout in the UK

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