Korean industry looking ahead to 5G

Yours truly made an interesting study trip to Korea and the Seoul area last week.  A busy program contained talks at Yonsei University as well as industry visits at Samsung Electronics, LG and HFR.   At Yonsei, our host Seong-Lyun Kim had arranged two workshops on future Wireless and Cognitive Radio which were very interesting. I gave a presentation at Yonsei and at the companies on the theme “1000 times more capacity for the same cost and energy”  which was well received (see picture left)

Some general reflections on the situation in Korea:

  • LTE is rolled out at very quick pace. The initiative was early taken by No 3 operator LG U+ that needed a technology edge over the two dominant players SK Telekom and Korea Telecom.  The incumbents have now awakened and  LTE is advertised massively everywhere. Sales of LTE-capable devices seem to pick up quickly
  • There is a great interest now in the companies to understand what will happen beyond LTE. The challenges we presented in the talks with massive indoor deployment,  both technical and business challenges,  seems to be understood.  The strong track record in consumer electronics by Samsung, LG, makes them in one sense well poised for the “capacity explosion” that is needed to meet the “data avalanche”. The question is if the systems design competence is there. The significant efforts in standardization in this respect, in particular those of LG, are definitely interesting.
  • Large screen smartphones are everywhere.  iPhones look really small compared to the Samsung and LG devices you see everywhere. It seems to be the size of the pockets of a business suit that limits the size.  It seems that almost every person under 40 fiddles around with their smartphones in the subway.

Big thanks to colleagues Seong-Lyun Kim at Yonsei, Won Cheol Lee at Soongsil, Jaeweon Cho at Samsung and Dongwoo Kim at Hanyang University for all the arrangements!

About Jens Zander

Professor Jens Zander is professor in Radio Communication Systems at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. He has been among the few in Swedens Ny Teknik magazine's annual list of influential people in ICT that have been given the epithet “Mobile Guru”. He is one of the leading researchers in mobile communication and is the Scientific director of the industry/academia collaboration center Wireless@KTH. His research group focuses on three main areas – the efficient and scalable use of the radio frequency spectrum, economic aspects of mobile systems and application and energy efficiency in future wireless infrastructures.
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