Korean operator KT is claiming it will launch a commercial 5G network in 2019, one year earlier than its initial plan of 2020 and one year before 5G standards are expected to be fully baked. KT is tightly aligned in its 5G trials and information sharing with U.S. operator Verizon Wireless, which has also said it wants to be aggressive in its 5G deployment.
In a Korea IT News article, Oh Seong-mok, director of KT Network Sector, said that he is certain that standards of the 5G-SIG (special interest group), will become part of the 3GPP’s international standards. He added that after the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, KT is going to commercialize 5G in 2019 based on international standards.
The 5G-SIG was formed this month by KT to co-develop standards that will be used for Olympics. The standards include maximum speed of 20 Gb/s and a latency of less than 1 millisecond using spectrum in the 28 GHz band and the 800 MHz band.
Verizon’s Ties to KT
Interestingly, Verizon announced in June that it was collaborating closely with KT on software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV). It also said it was working with KT on GiGA technologies. KT was the first GiGA LTE operator — which means that it has achieved a maximum download speed of 1.17 Gb/s by combining its LTE network with localized WiFi networks.
Verizon made waves this summer when it released its own 5G specs to potential vendors that want to help the U.S. operator build its 5G network.
At the time, Verizon said the specification’s guidelines on testing and validating 5G components will help chipset vendors, network equipment makers, and others develop interoperable 5G gear that will assist with pre-standard testing and fabrication.
Operators Eyeing 5G
Verizon and KT aren’t alone in their 5G plans. A study by Ericsson on 5G Readiness released today says that globally there are 29 operators that are already involved in some form of 5G initiatives. The survey found that of those, 22 percent are already planning 5G, 34 percent are in 5G development, and 32 percent are conducting an actual trial of 5G technology.
Interestingly, more than half of the operators surveyed also said that they have a clear strategy in place for 5G use cases, meaning that they identified several areas that would greatly benefit from 5G technology. However, far fewer have a clear idea of the business models. More than 90 percent of respondents said the Internet of Things (IoT) will play a role in monetizing 5G, and that third-party collaboration will be essential to making money from 5G.