Seo Chang-seok, vice president at KT's network strategy division, unveils the company's fifth-generation (5G) vision, in a press conference at its headquarters in central Seoul, Tuesday. / Courtesy of KT
By Lee Min-hyung
KT has unveiled a plan to commercialize its much-hyped fifth-generation (5G) services by 2019, pushing it one year ahead from its earlier schedule amid mobile carriers' toughening competition for the next key growth area.
This comes as the company announced Tuesday its 5G technical specifications after reaching a consensus with global network and mobile chipsets manufacturers ― including Nokia, Samsung Electronics, Intel and Qualcomm.
"We have been on an upward track to push for setting a global standard for the upcoming 5G era after we established the 5G-SIG in November last year," Seo Chang-seok, vice president at the firm's network strategy division, said in a press conference.
"The 5G specifications will serve as a backbone for our 5G demonstration plan at the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympics in 2018," he added.
The nation's three mobile carriers ― SK Telecom and LG Uplus are are other two ― are in a cutthroat rivalry for leadership of the upcoming 5G era, with the existing long-term-evolution (LTE) network market reaching a saturation point.
In the third-quarter regulatory filing, LG Uplus said LTE users account for some 87 percent of its mobile customers, followed by 74.5 percent of KT. SK Telecom came in at the third place with 69.8 percent.
For this reason, the carriers are in a race to find new revenue sources by taking advantage of their technological expertise in network solutions. Those areas include the Internet of Things (IoT), smart homes and virtual reality (VR), all of which are expected to gain more momentum with the 5G network system.
The company previously said network speed is expected to grow ten times faster by 2020 than the current mobile era, amid growing needs for processing massive datasets in real-time.
As the 5G technology has yet to generate tangible outcomes, all the carriers are expanding their partnerships with global network solutions giants to create standards for the next-generation network.
"We hope all the local mobile carriers, network equipment manufacturers and research bodies join hands over our 5G standardization," he said.