South Korea to Invest USD 130 Million in 5G and 6G in 2024

January 8, 2024

Written by Caio Castro
CATEGORY: Exclusives

The Ministry of Science and ICT of South Korea announced it will invest over USD 130 million (172.9 billion won) in “securing leadership in communication growth engines and generational evolution and expansion,” including the commercialisation of 6G.

This is part of a larger budget for research and development for 2024, a sum that totals USD 4.4 billion (5.8 trillion won) and encompasses sectors such as biotechnology, semiconductors, displays, secondary batteries), and quantum technology, among other areas.

According to the Korean administration, USD 15.6 million (20.6 billion won) is headed to developing next-generation communication network industrial technology such as 6G. Another USD 4.7 million (6.2 billion won) will support core technology development for 3GPP-based satellite communication terminals.

Other Technologies

The Ministry revealed that other technologies will receive research and development investments:

  • Artificial Intelligence: Overcoming the limitations of current generative AI, solving problems in industrial sites, and promoting the development of general-purpose AI technology at the human level: USD 162 million (213.2 billion won) 
  • AI Semiconductor: Accumulate the best NPU and PIM technologies and secure system SW and interface core technology to improve performance: USD 85.8 million (112.8 billion won)
  • Quantum computing: Securing technological competitiveness by securing quantum communication and quantum sensor core technology, promoting industrial expansion, and developing next-generation quantum cryptography communication technology: USD 23.5 million (30.9 billion won)
  • Metaverse: Development of technology based on industrial demand to overcome limitations in digital space synchronisation and spread to all industries: USD 37.1 million (48.8 billion won)

Early 6G Demos

In August 2023, South Korea announced it had finished preliminary studies on 6G and would start developing commercial 6G technology in 2024. The country aims to secure 30% of standard 6G patents throughout the program.

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.

Featured image by Wikimedia Commons

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