LIVE FROM MWL UNWRAPPED: Lee Jong-sik, the head of KT’s Infrastructure Digital Transformation Lab (pictured), shared some of the challenges it faced in the early rollout of 5G service, suggesting a close review of the lessons learned can be a good starting point as the industry looks to 6G.

After KT and its domestic rivals launched 5G networks in 2019, he said they anticipated the emergence of innovative services like AR, VR and autonomous driving, but most such offerings have not yet been successfully commercialised.

“When we started 5G services, we rushed and squeezed all the preferred features in 5G specs, which eventually ended up being extremely difficult for vendors to implement.”

While the market was expecting innovation, he acknowledged the actual performance of 5G at the beginning was not impressive compared with LTE.

Quote Icon

We have yet to find the so-called killer 5G service.

Lee Jong-sik, head of Infrastructure Digital Transformation Lab KT

Lee explained that, as the world’s first operator of a commercial 5G service, it was extremely difficult to create a solid ecosystem. “Devices were not matured enough to support this new technology.”

He added it be important to invest in the services, content and devices as well as the network.

Looking ahead, he said KT believes new business models for 5G services will shift from a focus on the consumer market, where entry barriers are relatively lower than other sectors, to vertical markets like manufacturing, transportation, utilities, public safety and healthcare.