SK Telecom said the new group currently has 200 employees

Korean telecommunications operator SK Telecom has formed a 200-member task force in order to speed up the process to launch commercial 5G services in the Asian country. SK Telecom said the task force is making all the necessary efforts to launch this technology as soon as possible.

The telco said the 5G task force is led by Suh Sung-won, head of the mobile network operation (MNO) division and includes staff from four major divisions ― MNO, media, internet of things (IoT)/data and service platforms.

The task force also comprises staff from the company’s ICT infrastructure institute.

“SK Telecom has put a considerable amount of manpower related to autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence (AI) and the IoT into the task force to develop next-generation services that will provide our customers with the greatest convenience,” the company said in a release.

The operator highlighted that the development of business models for 5G was among the goals of the task force. “We will focus on developing equipment working on global 5G standards and the building of a wireless network infrastructure,” the company said. “We will also enhance technical cooperation with co-operative companies.”

The telco also said it had already sent requests for proposals (RFP) to companies dedicated to developing commercial equipment, so that it could introduce communications equipment working on the global 5G New Radio (NR) standardization as soon as possible.

Earlier this month, South Korea’s ICT Minister Yoo Young-min had a meeting with the country’s mobile carriers asking them to speed-up the process of deploying 5G networks in the country.

The minister had a meeting with SK Telecom, KT Corp. and LG U+, which had announced plans to start commercial operations of 5G in early 2019 and build nationwide infrastructure by 2020.

South Korean mobile opertors are expected to invest more than $9.36 billion in 5G network technology in 2018, according to recent reports.

The local government has also recently announced plans to award 5G spectrum in June this year. The Ministry of Science and ICT said 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz spectrum will be auctioned.

The Korean government estimates that 5G will have a penetration rate of nearly 5% in Korea in 2020, the year it is expected to be launch in several markets worldwide. The government also forecasts 5G will represent 30% of total mobile subscribers in South Korea in 2021, 50% in 2020 and 90% in 2026.

Korean telcos are currently focusing on 5G trials in order to pave the way for the launch of commercial 5G offerings. In November 2017, LG U+ signed a partnership with Chinese vendor Huawei to complete a large-scale 5G network test in a pre-commercial environment in Gangnam District, Seoul.

Also, SK Telecom and KT plan to show off their 5G network at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games to be held in South Korea.

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