A long-discussed plan to deploy a nationwide public safety network based on LTE technology in South Korea is back on track after the government committed KRW1.7 trillion ($1.6 billion) to the project.
A representative from the Ministry of the Interior and Safety said it will issue a request of proposal in June and begin the project in July, with a view to completing deployment in 2020, The Korea Times reported.
The network will cost about KRW445.4 billion to build and construction will be carried out in three phases, the ministry said. The first phase will cover three provinces and two cities, with the final phase set to cover Seoul and Incheon. The remaining funds will be spent on devices and opex.
It is unknown how the project will be divided between the county’s three major mobile operators SK Telecom (SKT), KT and LG Uplus, the newspaper said.
The government invested KRW42 billion in a pilot public safety project, with KT and SKT building trial networks in PyeongChang, Jeongseon and Gangneung in preparation for the 2018 Winter Games (which took place in February), The Korea Times said.
SKT announced in April it teamed with Nokia to trial an LTE public safety system to enable first responders to communicate using HD video and voice, and share data in real time.
The government first outlined plans to deploy a nationwide broadband network dedicated to public safety using LTE technology in 2014. KT announced in 2015 it was joining Samsung to bid for a government contract to build the network by 2017. The alliance was competing against Nokia, SKT, LG Uplus and Motorola.