South Korea wants to lead the world in 6G, as the government unveils plan to support Korean tech firms in developing the technologies. South Korea has been a pioneer in 5G and now the target is to be leader in 6G by 2028 and develop key technologies for it by 2026.
Korean Ministry of Science and ICT unveiled the K-Network 2030 plan, calling for Korean tech companies to develop world-class 6G technologies and software-based networks. “We will preemptively invest in next-generation network technologies such as 6G, open RAN [radio access network], and low-orbit satellite based on public-private cooperation,” Lee Jong-ho, Minister for Science and ICT (MSIT), said.
The government will encourage local companies to produce 6G materials and equipment and develop open RAN, official news service Yonhap reported. The plan calls on South Korean firms to “secure leadership in standards” by demonstrating pre-6G technology in 2026 in areas such as “extreme MIMO technology” in upper mid spectrum bands.
For the plan, a feasibility study for a research and development project on core 6G technologies worth 625.3 billion won ($481.7 million) is under way, the ministry said. The ministry said the advanced plan is aimed at helping the country retain the leading position in the global competition for future network infrastructure, following the 5G network race, to meet rising demand for higher speed and lower latency in wireless communications.
According to the German analysis firm IPlytics, South Korea has led 5G development with a high number of 5G patents, while previous 4G technology development was mostly dominated by US and European companies. Asia’s fourth-largest economy accounted for 25.9 percent of the number of 5G patents last year, closely following the market leader China with 26.8 percent.
The South Korean government said it will raise the figure to 30 percent or over in the upcoming 6G network patent competition.