5G to launch by 2020

SEOUL - The government plans to launch a 5G mobile network service, with speeds reportedly 1,000 times faster than the current Long Term Evolution service, by 2020.

The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said Tuesday it would launch the service by 2020 following pre-technology demonstrations in 2015 and the trial service in 2018.

With local companies producing 5G communications and base station equipment and providing the service, the government expected the market to generate 570 trillion won (S$685.38 billion) from 2020 to 2026.

The next-generation technology is 1,000 times faster than the current 100-megabit-per-second LTE service. By 2020, telecom operators will be able to provide an Internet connection speed of 1 gigabit per second.

"What is important here is the 1 Gbps service will be provided per person, not per base station," said Jang Eun-jung, a researcher at the Korea Communications Agency. "Currently, LTE service provides 100 Mbps service per base station, which can accommodate 100 users. The more users there are, the slower the speed. However, the service per person will not be affected by the number of users."

The page-loading speed, which is currently one second, will also drop to 1 millisecond.

The project is aimed at enhancing the nation's communications patent competitive edge and raising the global market share in communications equipment to the 20 per cent level by 2020.

The government will primarily invest 50 million won in standardisation, infrastructure, and research and development. It also plans to form a 5G committee comprised of governments, academics, business and research institutes in the first half of next year.