SK Telecom, KT and LG U+ to jointly launch 5G in March 2019

From left, LG U+ CEO and Vice Chairman Ha Hyun-hwoi, KT CEO Hwang Chang-gyu, Minister of Science and ICT You Young-min and SK Telecom CEO Park Jung-ho

SK Telecom, KT and LG U+ has agreed to jointly launch 5G services in March 2019 in a meeting with Hwang Chang-gyu, Minister of Science and ICT, South Korea says Korea Joongang Daily.

The top three mobile carriers has agreed to commercialize their next-generation 5G networks in March 2019 to avoid excessive competition between local carriers and focus on making Korea the first country to launch the high-speed network.

Speaking to Korea Joongang Daily, Minister of Science and ICT You Young-min said, “SK Telecom, KT and LG U+ has agreed to cooperate in launching their 5G networks together on a so-called Korea 5G Day during a meeting with heads of the three carriers held Tuesday in Seoul.”

Minister You asked for continuous cooperation between the carriers to ensure that Korea becomes the world’s first country to commercialize the network on that day. The 5G networks are expected to be roughly 20 times faster than the current long term evolution network.

Minister You also emphasized that the carriers will work with local small and midsize companies, such as network equipment developers, while developing 5G-related businesses to ensure that commercializing the network brings economic benefits to the country.

Speaking on 5G commercialisation, KT CEO Hwang Chang-gyu said, “5G commercialization calls for big investments as the network will be used to support many business-to-business services, unlike the current 4G network that was used mostly to support services targeting consumers. The 5G networks are expected to be the backbone of future businesses like self-driving cars and Internet of Things technology, where network stability is crucial to guaranteeing safety and security.”

“The government should help ease some difficulties faced by the telecommunications industry and support investment in 5G,” added Hwang.

According to the Science Ministry, Hwang asked for tax benefits when setting up 5G network infrastructure to ease the burden on companies and the minister said he will consider the possible options.

SK Telecom CEO Park Jung-ho said the company is researching what changes 5G could bring to the world and added that he is particularly interested in 5G’s possible impact on the media industry.

Recently, the Korean government raised KRW3.61 trillion ($3.3 billion) in 5G auctions, with the country’s mobile operators acquiring 280 MHz of 3.5 GHz spectrum and 2,400 MHz of airwaves in the 28 GHz band.

The Korean government in April mandated the operators collaborate on 5G deployments by sharing core fibre infrastructure, rather than RANs, in a bid to reduce the cost of rolling out the technology and so enable operators to pass on the savings to customers.


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