The Korean government is planning to foster 15 5G-based “strategic industries” to create 600,000 jobs and export US$73 billion worth of goods and services by 2026.
The 15 industries consist of five “core services” and 10 “core industries.” The five core services include immersive content, smart factory, autonomous vehicles, smart city and digital health care, while the 10 core industries are next-generation smartphones, network equipment, information security, edge computing, vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication, robots, drones, intelligent CCTV, wearable devices, and virtual and augmented reality headsets.
The Ministry of Science and ICT and nine other related ministries jointly announced the “5G+ strategy” at the “Korean 5G Tech-Concert” at Olympic Park on April 8.
"South Korea started commercial 5G service on April 3 for the first time in the world," the government said. "We have established this strategy to nurture new 5G-based industries and new services."
5G services are characterized by an ultra-fast speed and ultra-low latency. 5G networks allow live virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) broadcasting that requires large amount of data. Also, as 5G is a key infrastructure in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is expected to accelerate the growth of new industries such as smart factories and smart cities.
To promote the diffusion of the five core services, the government will push for “big projects” by 2025. Big projects will be implemented in two stages. The first stage will focus on developing “killer services” by area while the second stage will promote their diffusion.
In the digital healthcare sector, for example, a 5G-based emergency medical system that connects emergency sites, ambulances and hospitals will be developed by 2021 so that patients with severe symptoms and myocardial infarction can receive prompt treatment. It will then be applied to about 20 percent of emergency medical institutions by 2025, after being verified.
The self-driving car sector will operate 5G self-driving shuttles in Pangyo of Seongnam City and Daegu by 2020 and distribute 1,000 5G-equipped buses to local governments by 2025.
The government will also build a "5G+ Innovation Center" in Sangam, Seoul and Pangyo by 2021, which can spread the big projects and later push for industrialization.
Also included in the strategy are plans to revitalize the 10 core industries. A case in point is the establishment of a real-time monitoring system for roads, ports and airports by 2020 by utilizing robots and closed-circuit TVs.
Projects such as development of 5G-based nuclear power plant dismantling technology and development of drone technologies that will be used to monitor disaster areas and search for missing people are also planned. The government will support production and distribution of VR and AR content for the spread of the Korean pop culture or Hallyu and establish a cultural heritage immersion experience center at four national museums.
Support will also be provided to private companies to stimulate their investment. To establish 5G networks early, the government will provide tax credits to mobile operators for their investment in networks until next year. It is also planning to invest 35 percent of its R&D budget for mobile communications into R&D for 5G equipment by small and medium businesses next year and distribute “5G-factory” solutions for innovation of manufacturing processes to a total of 1,000 factories of small and medium businesses by 2022. The government has also decided to support 5G companies' overseas expansion
It is estimated that more than 30 trillion won will be invested by the government and private sector by 2023 to establish such an ecosystem for 5G-related services and industries. "Mobile network providers are expected to make large investments for 5G services in the 28 gigahertz frequency band, and the government is planning to invest trillions of won in mid- and long-term to make 5G a platform for innovation-based growth," said an official of the Ministry of Science and ICT. “Considering investments to be made by manufacturers such as Samsung Electronics and small and medium-sized companies, we expect total investments to exceed 30 trillion won.”
To prepare for an increase in data traffic, the Ministry of Science and ICT will additionally secure up to 2,510 megahertz of 5G frequency and expand the width of the 5G frequency band to 5,190 MHz by 2026.
The ministry will also reorganize the radio wave management system into a "frequency license system." If an operator obtains a license to use a portion of the radio frequency spectrum, it will be allowed to open wireless stations without separate authorization or reporting. Currently, a licensee needs to obtain a separate license to set up wireless stations.
To promote investment in 5G services and industries, the government plans to ease regulations on 5G businesses. Through the current regulation sandbox system, the government plans to continuously find and remove regulations and revise the Location Information Act to reduce barriers to entry of 5G convergence services using location information.
The Ministry of Science and ICT will encourage mobile operators to release various 5G rate systems so that household telecommunication costs do not surge. The basic fee for 5G services has actually been raised. Although the minimum LTE fee was 30,000 won, the 5G fee starts at 55,000 won. Customers who want to use data unlimitedly have to use a rate system that is priced at 80,000 won or more.
The government will also organize and operate a joint public-private “5G+ Strategy Committee” that will map out plans to implement the 5G+ strategy. The chairman will be joined by the minister of science and ICT and a civilian expert. In addition, the Ministry of Science and ICT will hold a "5G+ Strategy Check Conference" chaired by the second vice minister to keep track of the progress of the 5G+ strategy.