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Korea Operators Tipped To Name 5G Suppliers In Sept

South Korea’s three major mobile operators – SK Telecom (SKT), KT and LG Uplus – are expected to announce their 5G network equipment suppliers this month, with LG Uplus likely to use gear from China-based Huawei, Korea Times reported.

Each of the operators will select two to four vendors to build out their 5G networks, the newspaper said. All three mobile operators are in the last phase of testing 5G network equipment from a variety of manufacturers, including Samsung, Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei.

An LG Uplus representative said its COO told reporters at June’s Mobile World Congress Shanghai it would work with Huawei in building 5G infrastructure as its “has the fastest and the best functions”, Korea Timesreported.

While Huawei has rolled out hundreds of mobile networks around the world, it and rival ZTE both face de facto bans from selling network equipment in the US and last month were effectively banned by the Australian government from participating in the country’s rollout of 5G mobile infrastructure due to national security concerns. Huawei immediately criticised the decision which it said was not founded on a “fact-based, transparent or equitable decision-making process” and is out of alignment with “the long-term interests of the Australian people” because it limits the technology choices available.

Meanwhile, Japanese officials responsible for cybersecurity in the Japanese government’s Cabinet Office reportedly are conducting a study to determine if additional regulations are needed to reduce security risks from using network equipment from Chinese companies.

Joint effort

KT, the second largest mobile operator in South Korea, announced plans in March to start commercial 5G service in March 2019, which would make it one of the first operators in the world to launch the next generation mobile technology

But with pressure from the Ministry of Science and ICT for the operators to collaborate on 5G technology to meet a previously agreed timeline for commercial operations in 2019, the three companies announced in July plans to work together to launch 5G networks at the same time in 2019 to “avoid excessive competition” and ensure the country is the first to launch the next-generation technology.

In June the three operators spent KRW3.61 trillion ($3.3 billion) to acquire 280MHz of 3.5GHz spectrum and 2,400MHz of airwaves in the 28GHz band, in one of the world’s first 5G auctions.

SKT and KT both deployed 4G LTE equipment from Samsung, Ericsson and Nokia, while LG Uplus used 4G equipment from those three as well as Huawei, the newspaper said. – Mobile World Live

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