October 22, 2015 — Lately companies in the Asia-Pacific and North America are making noises that these will be the markets riding on the leading edge of the 5G wave.
Specifically, South Korea is seen as the most advanced market in terms of 5G development. Some in the Asian nation predict that SK Telecom, KT Corp., formerly Korea Telecom, and LG Uplus, will be able to trial 5G services during 2017 and then introduce commercial services in December 2020 – right on target with predictions. In fact, word from their governments indicate that operators will be able to launch 5G service demos during the XXIII Olympic Winter Games, in the city of Pyeongchang early in 2018.
Agreements are starting to be signed. SK Telecom signed with Nokia Networks, Samsung and Ericsson to develop 5G technologies. Another operator, KT Corp., signed 5G agreements with ZTE, Alcatel-Lucent and NEC. LG Uplus, also based in South Korean, inked deals with Ericsson, Huawei and Samsung.
And not just Korea. Chinese vendor Huawei is carrying out 5G research and development with mobile providers such as Vodafone and Japanese telco NTT DoCoMo. Huawei and NTT DoCoMo have recently launched a multiuser testing site in Chengdu, China.
Huawei plans to invest $600 million in 5G research and innovation globally between 2014 and 2018. Huawei also said it’s committed to developing 5G standards before 2018, and toward that end, it plans to launch its first pilot network in 2018, as well as launch commercial networks in 2020. Huawei also is collaborating with a Russian mobile operator, MegaFon, to trial 5G networks during the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia.
Not to be outdone, Japan intends to launch a 5G trial network for the Summer Olympic Games in 2020 in Tokyo. Japan’s NTT DoCoMo signed additional 5G collaboration agreements with Intel, Keysight Technologies, Panasonic, Qualcomm and Rohde & Schwarz with respect to trials and technological development of 5G mobile communications. Rival operator SoftBank inked a deal with Ericsson to test 5G capabilities in Tokyo, as well.
In North America Verizon Wireless, partnered with Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco Systems, Ericsson, Nokia Networks, Qualcomm and Samsung for its plans to carry out field trials of 5G in 2016. The. Verizon said they expect to deploy a limited commercial platform of 5G by 2017.
In Europe, Nokia Networks, Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent are becoming active in terms of 5G initiatives including research, memorandums of understanding (MoU) and partnerships. But it will be a while before they come up to par with South Korea, Japan and the United States in terms of future 5G deployments.
Look out world, here comes 5G…for real!