South Korea to invest $1.5 billion in 5G launch

South Korea to invest $1.5 billion in 5G launch

South Korea's ministry of science and technology told local reporters today that it will invest $1.5 billion in the deployment of a 5G wireless network, due to be operational in 2020.

The ministry said it would be partnering with local operators to install the 5G network, which will reportedly be 1,000 times faster than existing connection speeds, enabling a user to download an entire movie in a single second.

South Korea is reportedly home to the world’s fastest internet speeds – as well as the first implementation of LTE-A – and the roll-out is expected to occur in stages.

In 2015, the network will be tested on social networking sites, in 2017 its speed will be expanded to 1Gbps and in 2020 it will be introduced as a fully commercial service.

In a statement, the ministry of science and technology said: “We helped to 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.”

South Korea’s existing 4G network runs at an estimated 75Mbps, and, according to local reports, is already 65% faster on average than speeds in the US.

In October last year, China’s Huawei announced a $600 million investment in 5G research and development, and later in December the EU also said it would be investing €700 million in 5G technology.

“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,” the South Korean ministry added.

The country announced initial plans for its 5G network in December last year.

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