The Ministry of Science and ICT of Korea announced its plan for the supply of frequencies for industrial and daily life use On December 28. These frequencies can be defined as frequency bands that can be used for nothing with only technical standards determined by the government. These frequencies differ from frequencies for mobile communications in that exclusive rights to use are given to the latter in return for payment. Commonly known frequencies for mobile communications, such as Long-Term Evolution (LTE) and 3G, account for only 1.11% of total frequencies.
At present, South Korea is using 44.2 GHz in total and approximately 74% of it is for industrial and daily life use. The plan is to supply frequencies required for the development of self-driving cars, wireless charging, the Internet of Things (IoT), drones and so on in a proactive way while relaxing radio regulations.
Next year, the sensors of self-driving cars are further improved. The role of frequencies is essential for complete autonomous driving. The government is planning to come up with technical standards regarding 77 GHz to 81 GHz so that the resolution of sensors for vehicle collision prevention can be doubled.
When it comes to smartphones, remote charging is aimed to be realized by a charger several meters away sending electric power and a smartphone, a TV and an IoT sensor collecting the electric energy. Also, frequency supply is initiated so compact electric vehicles in parking lots can be wirelessly charged.
Not every frequency band can be used for charging. Specifically, 20 kHz and 60 kHz are bands suitable for the purpose. Frequencies for wireless charging of compact cars are determined at the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) of 2019. The South Korean government is going to distribute the frequencies in view of industrial needs and the result of the conference.
The development of battery-less IoT sensors is also promoted through the preparation of technical standards and the supply of frequencies for remote charging. Once this type of sensors is developed, battery power management for IoT devices becomes unnecessary.
Also scheduled to be supplied are frequencies for controlling and preventing collisions between artificial intelligence (AI) robots at manufacturing sites. For such robots to be used, communications have to be ensured between control systems and the robots. In addition, frequencies for high-resolution sensing are required to prevent robots from colliding with each other or manufacturing facilities.
Radio wave-based management of toxic hazardous substances and precise control of material inputs at manufacturing sites become possible next year, too. Frequencies for level measurement are supplied next year to contribute to industrial safety and efficiency by means of automatic measurement and management of blast furnaces, chemicals, etc.
The WiFi speed in subway trains is increased 100-fold as well. For multiple users to enjoy music, movies and games at the same time, a wireless backhaul system for receiving much data from the Web needs to have a high speed. Super-speed public WiFi can be realized once a broadband frequency is supplied.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Science and ICT is going to initiate a 5G frequency auction in June next year and put it to commercial use in March 2019 so South Korea can become the first country in the world where commercial 5G services are provided. A nationwide 5G network is expected to be established in 2022.
Large-scale pilot projects are also scheduled with regard to convergence services like AI, self-driving, smart city, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) so that 5G-based profit generation models can be found and tested. Through the pilot projects, regulations hindering new service creation are eliminated and international technical standardization is accelerated.
The ministry is also going to lower the entry barriers in the industry so that more venture firms can provide more innovative IoT products and services. To this end, the telecom business is turned into a business on a registration basis from a permission basis in the first half of next year. In addition, registration as special category telecom operators is exempted for manufacturers selling IoT products.
Moreover, the government is going to obtain a high-speed and short-range IoT frequency band of 125 MHz and an IoT frequency band of 5 GHz for high-capacity and real-time image transmission by 2020 and 2019, respectively. This is to prepare for an increase in the demands for IoT frequencies used in smart cities, autonomous vehicles and the like.
“The plan is for early establishment of an intelligent hyper-connectivity network and the plan will enable South Korea to function as a test bed for network-based convergence industries and services,” the ministry explained.