South Korea Finishes Preliminary Studies, Plans ‘Pre-6G’ Demo for 2026

August 25, 2023

Written by Caio Castro
CATEGORY: Exclusives

South Korea has announced it has finished preliminary studies on 6G and will start developing commercial 6G technology in 2024. The country aims to secure 30% of standard 6G patents throughout the program.

Minister of Science and ICT Lee Jong-ho said at an event that the country invested over 440.7 billion won (USD 332 million), of which 373.17 billion (USD 281 million) came from federal investments.

According to the Minister, South Korea plans to hold a “pre-6G technology demonstration” in 2026, depending on whether the intermediate results meet the nation’s goals.

If so, the Ministry will invite telcos, manufacturers, standard experts, and government officials to showcase standard candidate technologies domestically and internationally.

When the program ends in 2028, the government will demonstrate an integrated system of research and development achievements with visions and possibilities of the 6G ecosystem and “securing competitiveness in the early 6G market,” the Ministry says.

6G Focus Areas

Based on the preliminary studies, the Ministry chose to focus development on the following five areas:

  • Upper-mid band (7-24GHz): Technology that overcomes the capacity limit of 3.5GHz and the coverage limit of 28GHz in 5G – especially Extreme Massive MIMO.
  • Coverage expansion technology: Moving from passive to active relay technology to avoid coverage limitations of high frequencies.
  • Software-oriented network: Software technology that enables virtualisation, openness, and intelligence of base station equipment while developing cloud-based, flexible mobile core network software.
  • Energy saving: Technologies that reduce energy while supporting higher performance. South Korea plans to develop low-power design and low-power signal processing technology for core components of base stations. The goal will also be to improve the energy efficiency of the entire communication system by advancing core network management technology.
  • Enhancement of supply chain security: Cut dependency from imports of core parts, such as base stations, terminals, and optical communications, with the development of domestic technology.

Timing is Everything

The announcement comes two weeks after Korean operator SK Telecom released a white paper breaking down lessons to learn from 5G deployments and early 6G research.

“There were excessive expectations of 5G performance and innovative services based on it from the beginning of commercialisation. To prevent this misunderstanding from recurring in 6G, it is necessary to consider various usage scenarios of 6G, set achievable goals, and communicate accurately with the public,” the document reads.

In this article, 6GWorld digests the main points of the white paper and makes sense of the company’s vision going forward.

Featured image by Aboodi Vesakaran/Pexels

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