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Korea govt to spend another $325M on 6G researchKorea govt to spend another $325M on 6G research

Korea government aiming to build out 'pre-6G' by 2026 in drive for global 6G leadership.

Robert Clark

November 2, 2023

2 Min Read
A person using a smartphone while sitting on the stairs in South Korea
(Source: Reuters/Alamy Stock Photo)

The Korean government has announced it will tip another 441 billion Korean won (US$325 million) into its ambitious 6G development program.

The Ministry for Science and ICT (MSIT) on Wednesday unveiled its "6G commercialization and standardization R&D strategy," aiming to develop "pre-6G technology" by 2026 to ensure Korea has a strong hand to play in when standard-setting gets underway.

The Seoul government has repeatedly flagged its intention to be the world's first to roll out commercial 6G, setting a target date as early as 2028.

The new plan fleshes out some of the detail in Korea's 6G push, in particular in the critical area of radio access, where the ministry calls for a focus on the 7-24GHz spectrum to overcome "the capacity limitations of 3.5GHz and the coverage limitations of 28GHz."

It is also targeting development of chips to support extreme-massive MIMO (E-MIMO) antennas that will be capable of delivering four times more bandwidth than today's massive MIMO gear.

The research plan also prioritizes research into ultra-highspeed optical transmission and component technologies for 6G fronthaul.

It said anticipated 6G-based services such as urban air traffic and virtual reality would require performance guarantee technologies.

Korea's 6G leadership

"AI will be used to efficiently distribute and link communication resources for the requirements of each service to ensure performance for each service. We plan to accelerate the construction of a system that can do this," the MSIT statement said. 

Additionally, the ministry plans to establish a dedicated team to promote Korean technologies to international standards-setting bodies.

"We plan to secure Korea's leadership in international standards," it added.

The ministry will stage a "pre-6G technology demonstration" in 2026 to showcase Korean technology to the global telecom industry.

The new 6G research program builds on the MSIT's K Network 2030 Plan, unveiled in February, that identifies 6G, satellite, open LAN and quantum communication as key comms technologies.

Under that plan, the government aims to test launch LEO comms satellites in 2027, create an open LAN ecosystem and achieve a four-fold increase in backbone network speed by the end of the decade.

A separate KRW625.3 billion (US$470 million) research project into 6G core technologies is already underway, official Yonhap news agency reported in February.

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About the Author(s)

Robert Clark

Contributing Editor, Special to Light Reading

Robert Clark is an independent technology editor and researcher based in Hong Kong. In addition to contributing to Light Reading, he also has his own blog,  Electric Speech (http://www.electricspeech.com). 

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