South Korea plans to further upgrade its cellular data speeds in the coming years, and has announced that it will invest 1.6 trillion won (or $1.5 billion) in a 5G wireless network that will be 1,000 times faster than current 4G technology and will let users download full length movies in under a second, Agence France Presse reports.
“We helped fuel national growth with 2G services in the 1990s, 3G in the 2000s and 4G around 2010. Now it is time to take preemptive action to develop 5G,” the science ministry said in a statement. “Countries in Europe, China and the US are making aggressive efforts to develop 5G technology… and we believe there will be fierce competition in this market in a few years.”
The 5G service will start rolling out in 2017 and will be commercially available in December 2020 with local carriers including SK Telecom and Korea Telecom. Handset makers including LG and Samsung are expected to help out with 5G development plans and costs as well. The technology would further help the country get a larger share of the world’s telecom infrastructure business, as the government wants to have a 20% stake in the business by 2020, significantly higher than its current 4.4% market share.
Interestingly, 5G speeds will also allow telecoms to offer Internet connectivity in bullet trains that travel with speeds topping 500km/h, an unnamed ministry official revealed.