5G investment will be upped for export push

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5G investment will be upped for export push

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5G exports will be supported by an 87 percent increase in government funding for the technology and a team dedicated to increasing Korea’s presence in overseas next-generation wireless network markets.

A special public-private committee formed to craft national 5G business strategies, headed by Science Minister Choi Ki-young and professor emeritus Kim Tae-yoo of Seoul National University’s industrial engineering department, announced the goals and initiatives at a meeting held Thursday in Seoul.

The committee said the government will increase the budget dedicated to 5G business development by roughly 87 percent compared to this year. As mobile carriers are focused on 5G infrastructure, the budget for next year will be used mainly for the rollout of the networks.

Along with the increased budget, the government will be making more spectrum available for 5G services. This will help increase 5G speeds even in crowded areas. While the Ministry of Science and ICT auctioned off 280 megahertz (MHz) at the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) band and another 2,400MHz at 28GHz in June last year for 5G, the ministry plans to offer a total 5,320MHz of bandwidth for 5G services by 2026 including the spectrum already auctioned off.

While current 5G services are at 3.5GHz, the committee said network infrastructure for 28GHz 5G will be set up by the first half of 2020 at earliest.

“Spectrum is key to the success of 5G business as the quality and abundance of the spectrum determine the competitiveness of 5G services,” an official from the Science Ministry said.

To export 5G technologies developed by local carriers and network equipment operators, the committee said a dedicated team to support 5G technology exports will be established under the Korea Trade Insurance Corporation.

The team will help companies craft specialized strategies for 5G technology exports and also support financing and consulting on trade insurance and accounting for exporters.

The committee on Thursday noted the country’s achievements in 5G business this year.

The number of 5G service subscribers broke 4.34 million as of the end of November, while the number of 5G base stations increased from 35,851 in April to 97,227 as of Nov. 29.

Early adoption of the high-speed network helped smartphone and network equipment makers increase their global market share.

While the global market share of Samsung Electronics in smartphones declined from 32.3 percent in 2013 to 18.4 percent at the end of last year, the share increased to 22.3 percent in the second quarter this year, according to Strategy Analytics. In the second quarter, the market share of Samsung Electronics in the global 5G smartphone market was 81.6 percent.

In network equipment, the market share of Samsung Electronics grew from 5 percent in 2018 to 11 percent in the third quarter, according to IHS Markit. In the 5G network equipment market, Samsung Electronics was the second-largest player in the third quarter, holding a 23 percent share.

BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]

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