The government in South Korea says is sinking $1.5 billion into upgrades it says will make mobile communications there 1,000 times faster than they are today.
Despite the network’s capabilities, any wireless carrier wanting to take advantage of them also would need costly upgrades to their systems. Users would have to purchase new devices that could access it.
And even then, there’s no guarantee that Netflix or similar companies would make their own data available at speeds that live up to the Korean government’s tantalizing vision of an entire movie downloading in a single second.
“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 nation’s science ministry said. “
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, he added.
82.7% of South Koreans use the Internet, and 78.5% of the nation’s population is on smartphones. Narrow that down to 18-24 year olds and it’s dangerously close to full saturation — 97.7%.
A trial 5G network is due to be rolled out in 2017, with full rollout in 2020.
The country’s telecom companies, as well as native mobile companies Samsung and LG, are on board and plan to be ready to take advantage of the network, according to the government statement.
Each generation of network technology has enabled a new set of features: 2G was about voice, 3G was about data and 4G is about video. 5G is expected to be about creating intelligent networks that can handle those billions of connected devices.