South Korea is leading – and disrupting – the emerging 5G world

South Korea 5G
Image by New-Africa | Bigstockphoto

South Korea prides itself on leading in 5G and a host of other areas – and with reason. 5G speeds in South Korea are 10 times as fast as in other countries. And now, it is disrupting things – again.

South Korea is offering non-telcos 5G spectrum.

This move is aimed at enterprises wanting to get the full potential of a private 5G network, and various reports and articles point to smart factories and smart farms as enterprises most likely to take up the offer.

While South Korea is doing this to widen the appeal and potential of 5G, the move could have unexpected consequences for telcos.

Early examples of telcos partnering with enterprises with 5G solutions shine a spotlight on what telcos are not good at. They are not good at anything that is non-telco. While they are definitely getting better and getting used to the idea that they need to partner and become technology specialists, examples such as a major French airport point to the weaknesses.

The decision by South Korea will be watched closely, but generally, where it goes with new technology, many others follow.

If it does, then the result could be a significant percentage of potential 5G telco prospects deciding to build their own private network on the basis that they know exactly how a smart farm, factory or airport works and can design the technology to improve the performance and reduce the cost. It also allows companies such as Samsung into the game, and their breadth of experience and products would give them a significant advantage.

Meanwhile, another interesting story is developing in South Korea as a court has decided that Netflix should pay for the traffic that carries its content. SK Telecoms says that the traffic accounts for a huge 4.8% of its overall traffic, and so far, Netflix is getting away with it.

Enter the old net neutrality arguments, and, as with the 5G move, the world will be watching South Korea and the outcome of what will surely be a long, drawn-out argument.

It will be interesting to watch what happens in South Korea over the coming months to see how all this shakes down and the potential disruption far beyond Asia.

Related article:

South Korea leads the 5G race, lays out the blueprint for the rest of world

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