5G industry news

South Korea aims to launch first commercial 6G networks in 2028

  • 3 minute read
  • Published by Emma Dexter on 15 Mar 2023
  • Last modified 10 Mar 2023
Written by Juan Pedro Tomás

South Korea announced the K-Network 2030 strategy with the aim of boosting private-public cooperation to develop future 6G technologies.

South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT plans to commercialize an initial 6G network service in 2028, two years earlier than its initial schedule, Korean newspaper Aju Business Daily reported.

The government announced the K-Network 2030 strategy with the aim of boosting private-public cooperation to develop 6G technologies, innovate around software-based next-generation mobile networks and strengthen the network supply chain.

The ministry has launched a feasibility study for research and development on core 6G technologies for a total of KRW 625.3 billion ($481.7 million) to locally produce materials, components and equipment related to future 6G network.

The ministry also said that it has decided to advance the launch of the 6G service as the country cannot achieve industrial innovation without having a global competitive edge in the 6G field. The report also noted that the Korean government plans to develop core technologies for low orbit satellite communication required for 6G.

Also, the ministry will hold a “pre-6G vision fest” in 2026 to demonstrate the outcomes of the country’s research in the 6G field. The government of South Korea plans to invite global telecom firms, IT companies, standard experts and government officials from other countries to the event.

Last month, the University of Oulu in Finland and the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) in South Korea announced a new, collaborative research project to develop an advanced system architecture for as-yet-unstandardized 6G systems.

The collaboration, which is part of the 6G Bridge program, is funded by BusinessFinland and the South Korean Ministry of Science and ICT as separate yet complementary projects. It is a continuation of the collaboration between the University of Oulu and ETRI, building on a previous partnership that ranged from a 5G project demonstrated at the 2018 Winter Olympics to an industrial wireless automation project that has its final demonstration in early 2022.

The 6GBridge-6CORE project aims to define a service-centric system architecture for a future 6G system, along with supporting mechanisms and algorithms that enable the autonomous management of the system. In collaboration with Korean partners such as ETRI, SNU, and LG Uplus, the project also involves the development of joint experiments and trial activities based on some “Beyond 5G” applications and use cases, and addressing the autonomous lifecycle management of the deployed services, focusing on deterministic applications, the University of Oulu said.

The project started in July 2021 and is expected to last until June 2024.

Finland was one of the first countries to start research on future 6G technologies. The 6G Flagship initiative was launched in 2018. Currently, Finland also leads the European 6G flagship initiative Hexa-X, funded by European Union.

In May 2022, several Finnish research institutes and companies doing 6G research and development founded a national coalition, dubbed 6G Finland, with the aim of boosting Finland’s competitiveness in the as-yet-unstandardized 6G field.

6G systems are expected to be commercially launched by 2030, while the first phase of standardization will likely start from 2025, leading to the first 6G specification in 3GPP Release 21 by 2028.

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