South Korea’s KT Corp has unveiled a plan to invest a total of KRW23 trillion (USD20.4 billion) over the next five years in 5G and other new technologies. KT launched its 5G Open Lab at its Seoul R&D centre this month to promote industrial collaborations with local and international partners, as it builds up to its commercial 5G network launch scheduled for March 2019. Any enterprise may use the lab to plan, test and verify 5G/IoT-based services, and KT highlighted that the project has already attracted major corporate partners including Samsung, Hyundai Mobis, Posco, Intel, Ericsson and Nvidia, under a plan to forge ‘1,000 partnerships by 2020’. It has also recently signed cooperation agreements with Intel and Qualcomm in preparing commercial 5G services.
KT’s industrial 5G development plans focus on five main areas – smart cities, smart factories, connected cars, 5G media and the 5G cloud – in collaboration with private sector companies and the government to develop 5G services for both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-government (B2G) sectors. KT estimates that a commercial 5G network in South Korea will create at least KRW30.3 trillion in socio-economic value in 2025, 1.5% of the country’s GDP, according to a report released in July by the KT Economic and Management Research Institute (KT EMRI). The report forecasts that the figure will increase to at least KRW47.8 trillion, 2.1% of GDP, in 2030.