SK Telecom Builds ‘5G Cluster’ which includes AR, VR, and AI for South Korea
Overview of ‘5G Cluster:”
SK Telecom today announced its strategy to build ‘5G Cluster’ nationwide to further foster 5G services and benefits. Since the world’s first “5G” commercialization in April 2019, the number of 5G subscribers in South Korea has surpassed 1 million- far more than in any other country.
SK Telecom’s ‘5G Cluster’ is an advanced 5G environment with cutting-edge ICT including AR, VR, and AI. The Korean telco plans to build ‘5G Cluster’ in business districts, parks, factories, and etc. to provide differentiated 5G service and benefits in both of B2C and B2B sectors.
In the B2C sector, SK Telecom will operate ‘5G League of Legends (LoL) Park’ at Jonggak, Seoul, starting from July 25. At ‘5G LoL Park’, customers can view messages from supporting fans nationwide with Augmented Reality (AR) by facing their smartphones toward a certain location. Customers can also enjoy VR live broadcasting and VR playback during the games.
Starting this August, SK Telecom will provide a service that allows customers to meet a variety of animals, including giant cats and wyverns (a winged two-legged dragon with a barbed tail), using AR in Olympic Park and Yeouido Park, Seoul. For example, if customers hold their smartphones toward ‘The Lone Tree’ in Olympic Park, a giant cat will appear on smartphone screen in AR.
Moreover, the company plans to transform Jamsil Students’ Gymnasium into a 5G Stadium. SKTelecom will further expand 5G experience spaces with immersive media by the end of this year.
In the B2B sector, SK Telecom will apply 5G network and ‘Mobile Edge Computing’ (MEC) solution to SK Hynix to build a ‘5G Smart Factory’. The two companies expect that this will drastically reduce time to detect defective semiconductor products and more efficiently manage production and logistics.
Furthermore, SK Telecom plans to build a total of 12 Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) for 5G networks, to be located at key regions nationwide (South Korea). In particular, the company will provide dedicated 5G edge cloud service for enterprises that are in need of security and ultra-low latency communications, including manufacturing, media, finance, and game industry.
“With ‘5G Cluster’ as our key focus, SK Telecom will provide customers with outstanding service and pleasure that are beyond the imagination,” said Yoo Young-sang, Executive Vice President and Head of MNO Business of SK Telecom. “We will strive to create added values to different industries and regions.”
Yoo Young-sang, head of mobile network operator business at SK Telecom, speaks during a press conference at the company’s 5G smart office in Seoul, Thursday. Photo Courtesy of SK Telecom
“We are currently constructing smart factory systems at SK Hynix plants. We expect our 5G services will enable many companies in the manufacturing sector to use the automated logistics system and control manufacturing process in real time,” Yoo said. “By accumulating practical experiences with SK Hynix, we will bring about technological innovation.”
About SK Telecom:
SK Telecom is the largest mobile operator in Korea with nearly 50 percent of the market share. As the pioneer of all generations of mobile networks, the company has commercialized the fifth generation (5G) network on December 1, 2018 and announced the first 5G smartphone subscribers on April 3, 2019. With its world’s best 5G, SK Telecom is set to realize the Age of Hyper-Innovation by transforming the way customers work, live and play.
Building on its strength in mobile services, the company is also creating unprecedented value in diverse ICT-related markets including media, security and commerce.
For more information, please contact [email protected] or [email protected]
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FT: South Koreans complain at poor quality of 5G network.
Country has 77% of world’s 5G users but service is patchy.
The world’s first and largest 5G mobile network has come under fire from customers for poor quality, slow connections and lack of applications that use the new technology. South Korea launched 5G in April 2019 and more than 1.6m people had switched to the new service by the end of June, accounting for 77 per cent of the global population of 5G users, according to GSMA, the industry body.
There are 14 times as many South Koreans using 5G as there are Americans, because of aggressive marketing by telecoms operators and generous subsidies. There are 63,000 5G base stations in South Korea – just 7 per cent of the number of 4G stations.
But consumers are now complaining that the promise of internet speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G has so far not been met. Users said they often have weak signal and poor connections instead.
“It seems faster to download a movie than 4G phones but not as fast as I expected,” said one office worker at a telecoms company.
“And I have experienced some connection problems as well in some areas. I don’t see a big merit of the expensive phone as there are not many specialised contents.”
Analysts explained that so far there are not enough base stations for nationwide coverage.
“The number of base stations falls short of demand,” said Kim Young-woo at SK Securities. “Operators need to expand their facility investment quickly to solve the problem.”
South Korean operators such as KT Corp, SK Telecom and LG Uplus have spent at least $2.6bn this year alone on 5G technology, according to government estimates, as the country pins high hopes on the new technology to drive growth in the information technology sector.
The 5G network was expected to provide a new level of high-speed connectivity that will enable more cutting-edge IT services such as artificial intelligence, autonomous driving and virtual and augmented reality.
Korean telecom operators are scurrying to improve service quality, by building more base stations and developing new content. They have built about 63,000 5G base stations across the country, which is only 7 per cent of the number of 4G stations, according to government data.
LG Uplus, which uses Huawei equipment, has been able to increase its domestic market share since the 5G launch, but it may soon face trouble as the US is pressing its allies to avoid 5G solutions from the Chinese company, analysts said.
Competition among smartphone makers to grab a bigger share of the 5G market is expected to intensify in the second half of the year as Samsung plans to unveil a new flagship 5G smartphone in August and a foldable phone later.
Its Chinese rivals are expected to join the race with more affordable 5G phones. Apple is also expected to introduce its first 5G iPhone next year, which will accelerate the US switch.
LG U+ teams up with Ericsson as it looks to scale up its 5G network in Korea
South Korean network operator, LG U+ has named Ericsson as its network partner for its 3.5GHz non standalone network.
LG U+ was among the first operators in the world to launch 5G, when South Korea’s big three mobile network operators launched next generation mobile services earlier this year.
LG U+ already uses Ericsson for its core network, with the latest agreement naming the Swedish tech giant as the preferred vendor for its Radio Access Network.
“We are delighted to have Ericsson as a trusted 5G Core and 5G RAN vendor. Ericsson’s end-to-end 5G technology leadership is key to ramping-up our nationwide 5G ambitions in Korea. Ericsson will help us to deliver the very best enhanced mobile broadband experiences for our subscribers, as well as opening up innovation and job creation opportunities through the Internet of Things (IoT), Industry 4.0 and digitalized society,” said Daehee Kim, Vice President, Network Strategy, LG U+.
The latest figures show that South Korea has secured 3.5 million 5G subscribers since it became the first country in the world to launch next generation network technology in April 2019. LG U+ will now focus on expanding the scale and reach of its fledgling 5G network.
Korea JoongAng Daily: Mobile carriers diversifying to find growth
5G may offer phone companies business and opportunities
Mobile carriers are investing outside of the telecommunications field into a wide range of sectors, including artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous driving and media.
The introduction of the super-fast 5G network is seen as having opened new possibilities.
SK Telecom vowed to become an information and communications technology (ICT) firm, while KT last week announced it will transform into an AI company. LG U+, the smallest of the three, has been investing heavily in games and content that utilize 5G speeds and low latency.
Last week, SK Telecom said 45 percent of its sales in the third quarter were derived from businesses outside wireless communication, like media, security and commerce. The mobile carrier is “going beyond a telecommunications company to rapidly transform into a new ICT corporation,” it said in a statement.
The company’s sales in the third quarter were 4.56 trillion won ($4.08 billion), up 9 percent on year.
SK Telecom started the Wavve over-the-top media service in September by merging its Oksusu mobile video streaming app and Pooq, a joint video-on-demand platform formed by Korea’s three terrestrial broadcasters.
Its goal is to secure 5 million paid subscribers by 2023. As of June, Netflix has 1.84 million paid subscribers in Korea, according to application analysis firm WiseApp.
SK Telecom said it acquired 200 billion won in funding for Wavve to be able to release four to five original programs a year.
The company is also currently seeking government approval to merge SK Broadband and No. 2 cable TV operator t-broad. SK Telecom last year acquired security service provider ADT Caps to achieve synergy with its SK Infosec subsidiary.
Its recent agreement to swap stock with Kakao and broadly cooperate in the development of business offerings also highlights the mobile carrier’s ambitions in technologies like AI and the Internet of Things.
On Oct. 29, the wireless carrier announced each company would buy the equivalent of 300 billion won worth of shares in the other, leaving SK Telecom with a 2.5 percent stake in Kakao and Kakao with a 1.6 percent stake in SK Telecom.
KT last week vowed to become an AI company.
It said it will invest 300 billion won in AI and nurture 1,000 AI specialists over the next four years with the goal of expanding the technology to cars, hotels and apartments.
KT plans to use AI at factories, as well as in security, customer service and the IPTV businesses. It will expand partnerships with construction firms and hotels to enable residents or guests to control devices without physically interacting with them using the GiGA Genie, its AI-powered smart speaker system. It plans to export the service abroad.
“KT believes AI is a critical call in this era,” said Lee Pil-jae, vice president of KT, at a press event Wednesday. “AI could function as a crucial stepping stone for KT to rise once again and expand globally.”
KT on Tuesday said it has teamed with locomotive maker Hyundai Rotem to develop unmanned ground vehicles that run on 5G and related technologies. KT said it will expand the cooperation to the defense industry.
LG U+ argues it has been at the forefront of transforming into an ICT company since it emerged as LG U+ from the merger of LG Telecom, LG Dacom and LG Powercom in 2010.
Its focus has been on 5G content and games. LG U+ introduced 5G content involving K-pop groups, like offering a virtual dating experience with popular celebrities, and enabling users to dance alongside images of pop stars on their smartphone screens via AI.
The company formed the GeForce Now Alliance with Nvidia to offer its cloud-based streaming service. Games can be streamed directly from servers, enabling players without powerful graphics processing units to play intensive games.
Reduced profits from the telecommunications business has driven mobile operators to diversify.
The government in 2017 raised the discount rate for monthly mobile payment plans from 20 percent to 25 percent. Phone buyers can choose to receive subsidies from mobile operators for purchasing a phone or receive a discount on monthly payments.
The synergy effect 5G could bring with other industries also made it easier for mobile carriers to enter other industries.
“Although our key business is telecommunications, there are businesses we could expand to through the 5G network,” said a spokesperson for SK Telecom.
“AT&T, for instance, started as a telecom company but has become a media giant. The global trend demonstrates telecom companies are expanding their business portfolios to find new growth for the future.”
WarnerMedia, which owns CNN, is one of the media companies AT&T owns.
“Until more 5G handsets are released, 5G business opportunities will be centered on B2B [business-to-business], like smart factories and autonomous vehicles instead of from just offering the network to consumers.”
BY JIN MIN-JI [[email protected]]
On 23 March 2020, SK Telecom announced that it will provide Geovision, a big data-based real-time floating population analysis service, to Gyeongbuk Provincial Police Agency, free of charge, until the Korean government declares the end of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The collaboration between SK Telecom and the police agency comes as a result of their joint efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus. SK Telecom has been providing Geovision since March 9, 2020 to Gyeongsan Police Station within the Gyeongbuk Province and will begin providing the service to all police stations in the Gyeongbuk Province today. Moreover, the company is currently in discussions with the Korean National Police Agency to expand the use of Geovision to all police stations across the nation.
Geovision is a powerful big data and spatial data analysis service. By analyzing communication data generated between mobile phones and base stations on a real time basis, it offers accurate location-based services and is thus being widely used in areas including trade area analysis and demographic statistics.
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