In a bid to lay a firm foundation for high-end service, South Korean mobile carriers are likely to invest more than $9.36 billion in the fifth-generation network technology in 2018, industry sources said on Monday. The Ministry of Science and ICT and three mobile carries — SK Telecom Co, KT Corp and LG Uplus Inc — have plans to start commercial operations of the 5G network in 2019 and build nationwide infrastructure by 2020, Yonhap news agency reported. The companies will make investment in the coming three or four years to run faster and more stable data processing than the current 4G network, or long-term evolution (LTE). Their investment into the previous LTE network technology was $5.6 billion in 2010, a year before the official commercialisation and peaked at $7.49 billion in 2012, while investment in this field has been hovering around $4.68 billion per year since 2015.
Market insiders noted that the initial costs of launching a super-high speed network service is estimated to reach nearly $18.74 billion in 2018, with the first commercial operation just one year away. The amount can be reduced to some extent on money-saving technologies.