Industry officials said on Thursday, Korean companies such as SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus are planning to export to Japan and other countries their fifth-generation (5G) network technologies and content. The move shattered the perception that the telecommunications industry is for the domestic market typically.
Since the launch of the world’s first commercial 5G networks in April, the three mobile carriers have conducted discussions on business partnerships and cooperation with other telecom companies worldwide that seek to benchmark the progress of the Korean companies.
SK Telecom became the first company in Korea to produce substantial results and signing a contract to export technology to a Japanese mobile carrier.
An industry official said regarding the issue, “SK telecom recently signed a contract with Rakuten Mobile, the fourth-largest mobile carrier in Japan, to export its 5G network technologies.”
Based on the contract, SK Telecom will share its technologies in 5G networks and services, and the optimization of communication quality. An SK Telecom official said, “We cannot confirm the contract.”
Japanese telecom companies such as Rakuten, KDDI, and NTT Docomo are planning to commercialize 5G network services, preparing to invest about 3 trillion yen ($28 billion) for the next five years. The companies are trying to get ahead of next years’ Tokyo Olympic Games.
This investment is increasing the probability of Korean telecom companies having more export contracts with other telecommunication companies.
Samsung Electronics agreed to supply network equipment to KDDI, signing a contract with an estimated value of $2 billion.
LG Uplus has also been doing its part by hastening their progress to export its 5G technologies and content.
The company, with its 20-member task force, under the direct control of its CEO, is entirely in charge of exports of the firm’s 5G services as well as virtual and augmented reality content.
Ha Hyun-hwoi, LG Uplus’ CEO, said during a trip to Silicon Valley on September 27, “We will begin to export 5G content and technologies within the year.” He also noted that around 20 telecom companies from Europe, China, the United States, and Japan have already visited LG Uplus sites exploring commercial 5G services to be offered in more countries.
Ha said it was too early to discuss the names of contract partners as details have yet to be established. He also added: “The work is well underway.”
“There will be more opportunities next year as an increasing number of telecom companies around the world are planning to commercialize 5G networks,” he said.
KT, with other overseas companies, also engaged in various exchanges and ventures.
Key executives of MTS visited KT Seoul headquarters in May to explore and discuss KT’s 5G-powered services such as smart homes. MTS is Russia’s leading telecommunications operator and digital services provider.
The board of directors and executives from Vietnam Post and Telecommunications (VNPT) visited KT, March 14, to benchmark the firm’s major 5G sites, including its 5G Open Lab in which KT collaborates with partners to develop services, according to KT.