Korea’s advance network was made possible by a robust IT Infrastructure and concentrated population density. Close to 50% of the population lives in the Seoul Metropolitan area, which makes free, high-speed Wi-Fi more feasible to deliver than in other demographics.
The current developed network infrastructure was initiated with the National Basic Information System (국가기간전산망) in the 1980s, an investment to prepare for the information/digital era. This system was initially installed to connect public, financial, medical and other services. Since 1995, as the demand for high-speed internet increased, the government invested in the high-speed internet network, expanding connection of initial 80 locations to over 140. Also, one major component was the implementing a backbone fiber optic cable infrastructure which boosted internet speed to a high level in the late1990s. As the whole country was connecting through the internet and with the Korean culture of urgency (Korea is known for its ‘bbali bbali’ or fast faster culture), demand grew and competition to provide cost-efficient faster internet speed increased.
Korea fastest internet
Korea was one of the first countries in the world to invest in high-speed internet infrastructure and quickly developed a reputation for fast access. From 2017 to 2019, Korea was ranked no. 1 in the world for internet speed. Recent research shows that Korea's rank for internet speed has dropped to 30th. Other countries have recently developed and established 3rd and 4th generation communication networks which are more advanced than what Korea has.
However, Korea has continued to invest in network technology and is investing in 5G. . Wireless communication is quickly replacing traditional wired telecommunications. With the new technology, the goal is to re-achieve the unequivocal title of fastest internet
Telecommunication Market size
Source: Statistics Korea
Units: KRW billion
5th Generation Communication Network
In April 2019, Korea was the first country to launch a commercialized 5G network. Achieving the title of no.1 commercialized 5G network was possible as the telecom companies and electronics companies collaborated to achieve this single goal. A few weeks after the launch, according to internet speed testing webpage Ookla, mobile internet speed in Korea became the globe's fastest. Within a year, the three carriers, SKT, KT and LGU+, offer coverage within the metropolitan area of 50% to 60% with a max speed is 1.8Gps and an average speed of 500~900Mbs. Based on market research by RootMetrics, in the U.S., the top coverage within the major city area is less than 10% and the max downloading speed is 780Mbs.
However, there are downsides to a 5G network. The coverage, content and cost for 5G service still needs improvement. 50% ~ 60% coverage will not satisfy the existing consumers even if it is significantly higher than other global 5G network standards. The price for 5G service is higher than 4G and consumers must also purchase \mobile devices with the capability to access 5G network adding to the cost that customers must bear. Another issue is content. While 5G networks can provide unique content, the domestic market cannot produce enough 5G content that is superior to that of 4G networks. The hope is VR/AR contents, cloud gaming and big data platforms to be released.
The Next Generation Communication Network.
6G communication network development is already in process. A source from the Institute for Information and Communications Technology Promotion (IITP) stated that 6G technological tests are in the approval stage. After 2021 they will be able to develop the technology under a government grant. The initial development of 6G technology was launched later than China and the US, which started around 2018. One of the key players of 5G technology, Samsung Electronics, announced that they have started investing in 6G technology and will be able to commercialize it in 2028 and believe it will be commonplace in 2030. Unlike the focus of 5G which was solely on performance, 6G has three focuses, collaborative performance, structure and credibility.
Powerful Network Country
The value of the communication network is expanding rapidly. Applying new technology requires a massive volume of information to be transmitted and the network provides the pathway. Korea is well known for its network infrastructure and has gained an enormous amount of success from it. Moreover, Korea is known for preparing for the next generation such as the first launch of 5G. Now the spotlight is on 6G. The three telecom providers are committed to providing the best wireless service to customers, no STRINGS attached!
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