South Korea’s Ministry of Science, IT and Future Planning (MSIP) has announced plans to invest approximately KRW1.6 trillion (USD1.5 billion) in developing and rolling out trial 5G services by 2017. According to Agence France-Presse, the South Korean government is aiming for a commercial 5G launch in December 2020, with the state aiming to implement its plans with investment and cooperation from operators including SK Telecom (SKT) and KT Corp, as well as handset makers such as Samsung and LG. 5G technology is expected to enable users to download an 800MB file in just one second, compared with 40 seconds using 4G technology, the MSIP is claimed to have said, noting that such speeds, if realised, could help local firms win overseas deals. Further, it is understood that the future technology would allow passengers on bullet trains running faster than 500 kilometres per hour (kph) to be able to access the internet; at present only trains running at 300kph can access internet services, the ministry noted.
Commenting on the plans, the MSIP was cited as saying: ‘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 … 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.’