Visitors to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea will have access to commercial 5G services, according to KT Telecom CEO Chang-Gyu Hwang (pictured), speaking at Tuesday’s opening keynote session.
Undaunted by the lack of worldwide standards, Hwang said that the company was moving ahead rapidly with 5G. “It’s the next-generation network we need. Speed is only one part of the requirement, the biggest is capacity. We need to build a network that’ll be able to deliver real-time data with very low latency.”
One clear reason for KT Telecom’s interest in pushing ahead with 5G is Hwang’s assertion that the network costs will be significantly lower.
“Next-gen computing costs have fallen 1000x over time. “We’ve achieved this change with semiconductors, we now have to do the same with 5G compared to 2G,” he added.
KT Telecom’s aggressive ambitions were watered down by Nokia Networks’ CEO Rajeev Suri. “The 2018 Winter Olympics 5G service will be a trial network. We won’t see commercial services until 2020.”
“But, Korea could be first with 5G, followed by Japan and then the US. However, Europe could leapfrog all of these,” he added.
Of note, Suri confidently asserted that the supply of 5G network equipment would come from a small selection of vendors. “It’ll be a three-horse race: Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia Networks.”
“To stay in this race to develop and deliver 5G equipment you need market share and the revenues to carry through with the required long-term R&D investment. And I don’t intend to be third in this race.”
Suri remains convinced that Nokia Networks’ approach of programmable networks will be significant to 5G. “It will offer huge flexibility while providing rock-solid reliability.”