Korea looks to 5G for economic leap - Mobile World Live

Korea looks to 5G for economic leap

28 MAY 2019

LIVE FROM APAC 5G LEADERS’ CxO SUMMIT, SEOUL: South Korea jumped on the 5G wave early as it saw the potential for the technology to drive the country’s export-led economy and give it a competitive advantage globally, said Min Wonki, vice minister of the Ministry of Science and ICT.

The country sees the technology as a way to find a new growth path in the next decade, noting “5G is an opportunity for a new leap for Korea and ensure growth as an ICT powerhouse”.

The ICT sector is a major contributor to South Korea’s exports, but it is facing growing competition in the traditional semiconductor and handset segments.

Min believes 5G is more than just a communications technology, as it will impact all industries and aspects of society, adding it is as important as the national broadband initiatives many countries have built.

The country’s three mobile operators launched commercial 5G services for consumers in early April.

He acknowledged there are certain risks in going first, for example recognising the lack of clear business models for operators. However, he argued that when you move first, you can build the ecosystem, which is more important than the communication services themselves.

The country is investing more than KRW30 trillion ($25 billon) through public-private partnerships by establishing the 5G Strategy Committee. It identified 15 strategic sectors and set the goal of driving an additional $150 billion in economic value by 2027.

He said that in addition to offering tax incentives to businesses, it introduced regulatory ‘sandboxes’ for promoting new industries and services for 5G, which is something other countries in the region are considering.

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Joseph Waring

Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he...

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