Samsung, SK Telecom team up in 5 tech areas

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Samsung, SK Telecom team up in 5 tech areas

Samsung Electronics and SK Telecom, top players in the smartphone and mobile service sectors, reached a memorandum of understanding on Thursday to cooperate in five key next-generation technologies.

The five core technologies range from fifth-generation (5G) telecom connectivity to wearables, the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile payments and a national electrical safety network. Both companies agreed to join forces to “build together the direction of development of growth engine drivers under fierce competition in the industry” and create synergy with each other’s advanced capabilities.

“We hope the cooperation will propel the local ICT industry one step further,” said Lee Hyung-hee, president of mobile network operations at SK Telecom, at the signing ceremony.

The event took place at Samsung’s R3 research center in Suwon, Gyeonggi, in the presence of J.K. Shin, president and CEO of Samsung, SK Telecom CEO Jang Dong-hyun, and other executives. A luncheon followed.

The MOU came after the interests and needs of both market leaders were met. Although expectations are high for the success of the new flagship phones Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, Samsung Electronics is under immense pressure to move away from its heavy reliance on smartphones for revenues and profits and succeed in fledgling sectors such as next-generation wearable devices and mobile payments. SK Telecom also has been agonizing over how to reform the competition paradigm since it proclaimed earlier that it won’t stick to the long-retained principle of maintaining mobile service market share of more than 50 percent.

The two already teamed up to demonstrate research in their 5G technology that has yet to be commercialized, but is expected to become 100 times faster than current fourth-generation long-term evolution (LTE) connectivity. The era of a smarter and faster 5G mobile network is widely expected to arrive in 2020 at the earliest and the standard is projected to propel the hyper-connected world of the Internet by combining communications and computing.

In the wearable sector, Samsung and SK Telecom will jointly develop wearable devices in the future as the former has unveiled a series of Gear smartwatches and the latter has offered mobile plans that specifically cater to wearable devices. The two companies also pledged to collaborate on a standardized platform for IoT technologies and application program interface.

BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]

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