Monday April 22, 2019
Home Lead Story South Korea: ...

South Korea: World’s First Nationwide 5G Mobile Networks, Innovation Transforming Lives

It is crucial for the future development of devices ranging from self-driving vehicles that send data to one another in real time to industrial robots, drones and other elements of the Internet of Things.

0
//
5G
SK Telecom CEO Park Jung-ho, left, and participants attend a media showcase for the company's 5G service in Seoul, South Korea, April 3, 2019. SK Telecom will be launching commercial 5G services nationwide on Friday. VOA

South Korea on Friday launches the world’s first nationwide 5G mobile networks, a transformational leap that has superpowers sparring for control of an innovation that could change the day-to-day lives of billions of people.

The fast communications heralded by fifth-generation wireless technology will ultimately underpin everything from toasters to telephones, from electric cars to power grids.

But while Seoul has won the race to be first to provide the user experience, that is only one part of a wider battle that has pitted the United States against China and ensnared giants including Huawei.

Hyper-wired South Korea has long had a reputation for technical prowess, and Seoul has made the 5G rollout a priority as it seeks to stimulate stuttering economic growth.

The system will bring smartphones near-instantaneous connectivity — 20 times faster than existing 4G — allowing users to download entire movies in less than a second.

In the same way that 3G enabled widespread mobile web access and 4G made new applications work ranging from social media to Uber, 5G will herald a new level of connectivity, empowered by speed.

It is crucial for the future development of devices ranging from self-driving vehicles that send data to one another in real time to industrial robots, drones and other elements of the Internet of Things.

Lee Pil-jae, second from right, vice president at KT Corp., and models introduce various 5G services available on smarpthones during a press conference on 5G service at KT Corp.'s headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, April 2, 2019.
Lee Pil-jae, second from right, vice president at KT Corp., and models introduce various 5G services available on smarpthones during a press conference on 5G service at KT Corp.’s headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, April 2, 2019. VOA

That makes it a vital part of the infrastructure of tomorrow, and the 5G standard is expected to bring about $565 billion in global economic benefits by 2034, according to the London-based Global System for Mobile Communications, an industry alliance.

‘1 million devices’

But the implications of the new technology have pitted Washington against Beijing in an increasingly bitter standoff.

The U.S. has pressed its allies and major economies to avoid 5G solutions from Chinese-owned telecom giant Huawei, citing security risks that technological back doors could give Beijing access to 5G-connected utilities and other components.

But Chinese firms dominate 5G technology.

FILE - A staff member stands in front of a Huawei shop in Beijing, China, March 7, 2019.
A staff member stands in front of a Huawei shop in Beijing, China, March 7, 2019. VOA

Huawei, the global leader, has registered 1,529 5G patents, according to data analysis firm IPlytics.

Combined with manufacturers ZTE and Oppo, plus the China Academy of Telecommunications Technology, Chinese entities own a total of 3,400 patents, more than a third of the total, according to the research firm.

South Korea comes next, with its companies holding 2,051 patents.

In contrast, U.S. firms have 1,368, IPlytics said, 29 fewer than Finland’s Nokia alone.

All three of South Korea’s mobile operators — KT, SK Telecom and LG UPlus — will go live with their 5G services on Friday.

“5G’s hyperspeed can connect 1 million devices within a 1-square-kilometer zone simultaneously,” KT said in a report.

Neither KT nor SK Telecom uses Huawei technology in its 5G network, but Huawei is a supplier to LG UPlus, the companies told AFP.

On the same day, Samsung Electronics will release the Galaxy S10 5G, the world’s first available smartphone using the technology, and rival phonemaker LG will follow with the V50s two weeks later.

Deployment in US

Until now, no mobile networks have offered nationwide 5G access.

Visitors test a VR device using the 5G network at a pop-up store of South Korean telecom operator LG Uplus in Seoul, April 2, 2019.
Visitors test a VR device using the 5G network at a pop-up store of South Korean telecom operator LG Uplus in Seoul, April 2, 2019. VOA

U.S. network carrier Verizon said Wednesday that it had become the first carrier in the world to deploy a 5G network — in Chicago and Minneapolis, with more cities due to follow this year. The system will work with Lenovo’s Moto Z3 smartphone.

“Verizon customers will be the first in the world to have the power of 5G in their hands,” said Hans Vestberg, Verizon’s chairman and chief executive officer. “This is the latest in our string of 5G firsts.”

Cost barrier

More than 3 million South Koreans will switch to 5G by the end of this year, predicted KT Vice President Lee Pil-jae.
Also Read: Indian Consumers Cautious of Data Misuse Through Technological Devices

None of South Korea’s three network operators would say how much they have invested in 5G, but Seoul’s Economy Minister Hong Nam-ki estimated it would be at least $2.6 billion this year alone.

“If 5G is fully implemented,” he said, “it will greatly improve people’s lives.” (VOA)

Next Story

Huawei Wants India to Remove Hurdles for 5G Spectrum

Huawei has been present in India since the last decade in the telecom equipment business and has so far worked with Airtel and BSNL

0
Huawei
A staff member stands in front of a Huawei shop in Beijing, China, March 7, 2019. VOA

Chinese telecom equipment major Huawei on Tuesday said that India should address the constraints in the spectrum availability to make 5G technology-based services a success in the country.

Speaking to IANS on the sidelines of the Huawei Global Analysts Summit 2019 here Huawei Executive Director David Wang, who is also the company’s ICT strategy head, also pointed out that the Indian telecom market is currently faced with excess competition.

“Huawei would like to see India become more attractive in terms of 5G. We hope to see more changes in the Indian market..there is lack of spectrum for 5G operators which could affect the services. If the constraints present in the 4G is there in 5G as well, then these constraints might hamper growth,” Wang said.

Huawei Deputy Chairman Ken Hu said some of the growth irritants of 4G in India should not be repeated. These problems had made it difficult for telcos to make profits with the 4G spectrum in the face of excessive competition in the telecom services market.

“If operators are struggling to make profits under 4G, I wonder how will they become profitable in 5G. Competition in Indian market is overheated”, Ken said.

“My personal view is that for a very long time after 4G deployment, eMBB will be the main scenario. If operators are already struggling to gain profits on eMBB scenario under 4G, then I wonder how do they make profits under 5G””, he added.

eMBB, or enhanced Mobile Broadband, is one of the three sets of used cases defined for 5G.

5G, huawei
FILE – A woman stands at the booth of Huawei featuring 5G technology at the PT Expo in Beijing, China, Sept. 28, 2018. VOA

Huawei which has faced security concerns in some parts of Europe and in the US, said that it is already in the Indian government’s invitee list for 5G trials, as and when these take place.

“We were invited by the Indian government last year to conduct field trials for 5G and also participated in used cases and researches with operators in India. Huawei is deeply engaged with the Indian market on 5G,” Wang said.

“India is similar to China and other growing markets in terms of requirements and ICT and is an important market for us”, he added.

Huawei has undertaken 5G demo trials, alongwith Airtel and Reliance Jio, at the Indian Mobile Congress.

India’s Department of Telecom so far has not taken any decision on the time period for 5G trials as the telecom operators have differences over the quantum of spectrum to be allotted and the duration of the field exercise.

Also Read- Fukushima’s Nuclear Power Plant: Japan Begins Removing Fuel

While the operators demand a one-year minimum period for trial, the government says it only allot spectrum for 90-day trials.

The Indian telecom services market is facing severe competition, with a tariff war unleashed by Reliance Jio already affecting telcos’ bottomlines. They are already complaining about the high high reserve price of the next spe4ctrum auction slated to take place later this year.

Huawei has been present in India since the last decade in the telecom equipment business and has so far worked with Airtel and BSNL. It faces completion from fellow Chinese rival ZTE, Korean major Samsung, and the European firms Ericsson and Nokia. (IANS)