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By Kang Yoon-seung
SEOUL, Jan. 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will inject 1.6 trillion won (US$1.49 billion) through 2020 with local firms to build the fifth-generation network (5G) in the country, the communications technology ministry said Wednesday.
The 5G network is expected to be 1,000 times faster than the existing long-term evolution (LTE) service, allowing users to download an 800-megabyte movie in one second, compared with 40 seconds on the LTE-Advanced network, currently billed as the world's fastest.
The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said it has been in talks with the country's three mobile carriers as well as tech firms including Samsung and LG since May last year to draw up a plan aimed at taking the lead in the mobile network technology.
Under the blueprint dubbed "Creative 5G Mobile Strategy," Seoul will first develop key features for the new network, which include Ultra-HD and hologram transmission as well as cutting-edge social networking services (SNS).
The ministry plans to forge deeper ties with U.S., Chinese, European and other telecom authorities around the globe to build standards for the 5G network and avoid excessive patent battles among them.
Supporting research and development for local technology firms while expanding the participation of small and medium-size players are also included in the blueprint, the ministry said.
The ministry will conduct the first test run for the 5G network on SNS sites by 2015 and gradually expand to cover mobile 3D images and cloud services in 2017 at the speed of 1 gigabit per second (Gbps), compared with 75 megabits per second (Mbps) on the LTE network.
After another pilot run at the 2018 Winter Olympics to be held in PyeongChang, an alpine town some 180 kilometers east of the South Korean capital, the 5G network will commence its full-fledged service in 2020.
South Korea is expected rake in 331 trillion won between 2020 and 2026 from sales of 5G-related devices at home and abroad, and generate a telecom market sized at 68 trillion won in the country, it added.
The ministry also said the latest network will become the core infrastructure for South Korea's "creative economy" vision by connecting users with necessary information at all times.
The so-called creative economy is a key policy goal of the incumbent Park Geun-hye administration and calls for sweeping reforms to steer away from corporate dominance and achieve well-balanced growth.
Last month, the ministry said the bandwidth allocated for mobile carriers will be quadrupled by 2023 to accommodate sharply increasing data traffic by adding a bandwidth of 1,190 megahertz (MHz) on top of the current 390MHz under the "Mobile Gwanggaeto Plan 2.0."
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