On April 3, 2019, South Korean operators – KT, SK Telecom and LG U+ launched commercial 5G services in the country. The operators have a strong backing from the government who has pledged to support the completion of the full nationwide 5G network by 2022 and also raise more than 30 trillion won to invest in creating 5G ecosystem in the country.
The three operators are offering basic and premium 5G tariffs via Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G smartphone. For consumers, 5G services are less expensive per GB at low and mid-range tiers despite 5G is up to 20 times faster than 4G networks, offers extremely low latency and connects more devices. According to LG Uplus, the 5G usage was averaging 1.3 GB per day, up from 400 MB with 4G usage. All this have resulted in 5G subscribers exceeding one million in South Korea.
Developing 5G Ecosystem:
For creating 5G ecosystem, policymakers need to facilitate corporate investment in 5G and also work closely with businesses to develop 5G ecosystem. And once the ecosystem is created it will benefit everybody in the long run.
Speaking in Netherlands at an event with the theme “The Future Now”, KT Chairman and CEO Hwang Chang-Gyu said, “Envisioned a future in which every corner of economy and society benefits from a new mobile world, with different industries cooperating to use 5G. Policymakers should help facilitate corporate investment in 5G and work closely with businesses to develop a 5G ecosystem for digital transformation.”
Korea’s leading 5G service provider, KT is the first to offer unlimited data plans without a speed cap, allowing subscribes to fully enjoy next-generation wireless services, including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), high-definition movies and cloud-based games. Allowing subscribers access to unlimited 5G data at an affordable price will help lay the groundwork of the 5G industrial ecosystem in South Korea and the rest of the world.
Upon full-scale 5G commercialization, KT plans to focus on eight “super power” services in three categories of killer content, namely communications, games and media. All eight services include: narle, Real 360, eSports Live, Streaming Games, Real Genie Pack, GiGA Live TV, Pro Baseball Live and Musician Live.
On the other hand, SK Telecom have been doing trials with different organisations to come out with specific use cases such as: Anti-Drone System, Smart office Business, Broadcast Service, Safe Society, Autonomous Driving, VR Content, Smart City and Digital Hospital which will be beneficial to the respective organisations.
Industry Use Cases:
Anti-Drone System: SK Telecom, Silla University, the 53rd Homeland Defense Infantry Division of the Korean Army and Hanbit Drone have successfully built and demonstrated a complete end-to-end anti-drone system that can detect, identify, track and neutralize illegal drones.
Smart Office Business: SK Telecom, Samsung Electronics and Cisco signed an MoU to promote 5G-based smart office business. The three companies will work together to plan and develop a comprehensive smart office package which will include a mobile business phone, collaboration solutions, mobile-centric work environment and 5G network, all of which will be tailored specifically to the needs of each business.
Broadcast Service: SK Telecom, together with Sinclair Broadcast Group and Harman International Industries, successfully demonstrated next-generation TV broadcasting by combining ATSC 3.0-based broadcast network and SK Telecom’s 5G network.
Safe Society: SK Telecom plans to establish effective crime prevention measures by analyzing big data in collaboration with Daegu Metropolitan City, Daegu Metropolitan Police Agency, Keimyung University and a data analytics company, B2EN.
Autonomous Driving: SK Telecom and Seoul Metropolitan Government signed an MoU to develop and verify HD Map technologies for autonomous driving. The two parties also agreed to jointly develop an automated road infrastructure management system as well as advanced transportation safety services based on big data analytics.
VR Content: SK Telecom announced that it began offering around 100 exclusive VR contents of ‘Produce X 101,’ a popular idol audition program in Korea. To provide the show’s VR contents, a dedicated menu titled ‘Produce X 101’ has been newly added within the VR menu of the ‘SKT-5GX’ section of oksusu, the largest OTT video service in Korea.
Smart City: SK Telecom has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ) Authority to build 5G-based self-driving infrastructure and nurture ICT startups to advance smart city innovation in IFEZ. The two parties will also create ‘Venturepolis’ in Songdo International City to incubate startups.
Digital Hospital: SK Telecom has signed an MoU) with the Yonsei University Health System to build innovative 5G-powered digital hospital. The 5G-powered digital hospital will be equipped with SK Telecom’s AI speaker NUGU to enable patients with physical difficulties to easily control their beds, lighting and TV with their voice. They can even use NUGU Call service to get medical assistance in case of emergencies.
Once these use cases are successful it can be deployed in a commercial environment thereby giving an additional edge to corporates in this competitive scenario.