Korea succeeded in commercializing 5G mobile technology for the first time in the world with the launch of commercial services by its three carriers. It is yet another remarkable feat that builds on our having been the first in the world to commercialize ultra-high-speed internet service.
I hope today will become a day when we all celebrate together and set out a new 5G strategy vision.
Individual subscribers accessing mobile telecommunication services through their cell phones may wonder, “Why do I need 5G when my smartphone is sufficient?” To get straight to the point, fourth-generation mobile service is still considered fast, but in the not-too-distant future, it will never be deemed that fast.
The internet of things at home – refrigerators, washers, audio components, televisions, electrical switches, beds – is changing our everyday lives. That the number of IoT-based products is growing means an increase in the use of related data communications.
The number of sectors that utilize data communications, including self-driving cars and smart factories, will increase exponentially going forward. Existing communication networks will end up overloaded.
The more cars there are, the broader the roads needed. Similarly, mobile communication networks will require broader, faster routes for ever-expanding data exchanges and connections between things.
Compared to the existing 4G, the speed will become 20 times faster, the number of connectable devices will increase ten-fold, and delays will fall to one tenth of today’s rates. A broader, congestion-free communication highway – this is what 5G is all about.
Economically, 5G can be likened to a highway. Just as highways served as the main arteries of our economy during industrialization, 5G mobile networks characterized by the super-fast transfer of huge data and the hyper-connectivity of everything in real time with ultra-low latency will generate new opportunities for Korea’s industries and economy in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
More than anything else, 5G serves as the infrastructure for innovative growth in the Republic of Korea. The convergence of 5G and different industrial sectors will enable shared growth by innovating all of Korea’s industries – from the information and communications industry to such manufacturing and business ventures as automobiles, drones, robots and intelligent CCTVs.
In 2026, the global 5G market is projected to be worth 1.16 quadrillion won. Considering the market size of semiconductors last year amounted to 529 trillion won, this is the equivalent of creating a massive new market more than double the size.
The digital innovation of all industries will be accelerated. Innovative convergence services – impossible until now – will make it possible to foster in earnest such signature industries of the Fourth Industrial Revolution as self-driving cars and smart factories and cities. In addition, the combination of artificial intelligence and cloud computing will spur innovation in industrial structure that can significantly boost the productivity of flagship manufacturing.
My fellow citizens,
5G is an open world. Existing mobile communication technologies have been used for people-to-people connections, whereas 5G adds connections to all things. The 5G-based new industrial ecosystem will provide opportunities for our young people to take on new challenges and for the nation to give rise to a second venture boom.
Combining state-of-the-art technologies with 5G will help make our lives richer and safer.
Among other things, 5G technologies and services must first be applied to such areas as healthcare, education, transport and disaster control.
With doctors diagnosing patients in real time during their ambulance rides, it will be possible to provide treatment within the critical golden hour. Utilizing self-driving cars will enable faster and safer travel as well as help reduce traffic congestion and energy use through a swift response to unexpected situations or obstacles.
Irrespective of geographical constraints, it will become possible for anyone eager to learn to receive realistic and immersive distance education. The number of casualties can be reduced once it becomes possible to pinpoint the location of victims and transmit situation-specific, high-definition information from the scenes of fires and other disasters.
The significance of being first in the world is that the standards set by the Republic of Korea can become the global standards. In 1996 and 1998, Korea became the world's first country to commercialize code-division multiple access, or CDMA, and ultra-high-speed internet, respectively. The Republic of Korea has now opened a third door to turn its standard into the global standard.
Many countries around the world are already engaged in fierce competition over the early commercialization of 5G. We are now just one step ahead. This is the time for us to take on the challenge of becoming the world's best.
More than anything else, we must change our view of the telecommunication market. The era where leading businesses compete in the entirely separate sectors of handsets, equipment, services and content has come to an end. Hardware and software as well as the government and the private sector need to be combined to form a single ecosystem for convergence and collaboration.
Korea commercializing 5G for the first time in the world was made possible thanks to smooth cooperation among the Ministry of Science and ICT, Korea's three leading carriers and mobile phone manufacturers. I would like to express my appreciation to those in the relevant industries for joining forces to take the lead in the era of 5G.
The Korean Government will push ahead with a national 5G strategy to create the world's best 5G ecosystem. It has set goals to increase Korea's global market share to 15 percent, generate 600,000 quality jobs and achieve US$73 billion in exports by 2026. It will also establish a public-private joint 5G plus strategic committee, and all government ministries and agencies will work together as one team to provide impetus to 5G in the early stages.
The Government and the private sector will jointly invest more than 30 trillion won and establish a nationwide 5G network at an early stage by 2022. We will also help foster new 5G-based industries and services, ranging from network equipment, next generation smartphones, robots and drones to intelligent CCTVs, self-driving vehicles, smart factories and smart cities.
As this is an unprecedented path, there may be hard-to-predict areas as well as trials and errors. The Government and affiliated organizations will be the first parties to adopt and utilize 5G and boldly carry out testing and pilot projects, thereby helping the market take off as quickly as possible.
Tax credits will be provided for establishing 5G networks in a bid to stimulate private-sector investment, and world-class test beds will be formed. We will assist in establishing one thousand 5G factories for the sake of manufacturing innovation at SMEs and increase productivity at flagship manufacturing industries. In addition, we will nurture talented professionals who will lead the 5G era and will actively support startups.
The Government will focus its efforts on information protection and security-related R&D with a view to solving major global concerns around security issues. We will further accelerate regulatory reform so that regulations do not hold back new industries.
I, as President, will promote our advanced technology whenever an opportunity presents itself, for example the 360-degree virtual reality live broadcasts during the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games and the smart wall used in the press center for the inter-Korean summit on April 27, 2018.
It is also important to narrow the digital divide. The policy focus will be placed on ensuring that every citizen will enjoy the benefits of the 5G era equally.
We will cooperate with carriers to help introduce a range of low- to mid-priced plans that subscribers can choose from according to their needs while seeking, without fail, to assist with telecommunication service subscriptions for the people’s wellbeing: Further reducing subscription fees for the underprivileged will be pursued; special subscription plans, for example for soldiers, will be introduced; and students from low-income households will be able to access educational content free of charge.
In addition, support will be given to develop Able Tech, technologies designed to make life more convenient for the underprivileged, and related public services will be expanded so that people with disabilities and seniors can easily try new telecommunication devices.
A great transition has just begun for the Republic of Korea. Many countries and businesses around the globe are paying attention to each step we make along a new path that no one else in the world has taken.
We’ve always responded proactively to changes. Now, we are set to lead world-class innovation. In the 5G era, what we conceive and create will become the global standard. Let’s never pause in the race to the world’s best.