Monday June 10, 2019

Highlights from APAC 5G Leaders’ CXO Summit in Seoul, Korea

Person looking at mobile phone smiling, light is reflecting on face in dark room

The GSMA APAC 5G Leaders’ CXO Summit was successfully held on 28-29 May 2019 in Seoul, Korea.  The event attracted more than 90 attendees, mainly C-level and senior management executives, in 2 days with over 60 local news coverage.

Key takeaways from the event

  • Collaboration between government and industry to create prosperous and sustainable 5G ecosystem is essential
  • The ecosystem is more than MNOs and government.  It is important to engage and foster innovation to highlight 5G benefits
  • Opportunities to share experiences and best practice are essential amongst 5G pioneers to repeated learnings
  • Network vendor strategies are more complex in 5G due to technology and global supply chain. Benefits available by sharing best practice in procurement strategies
  • Scope of security challenges in the 5G era is larger but also has a higher public profile. Best practice and exposure to thought leadership are keys for the national development of security positions.

5G Insights

  • Korea’s vision is to achieve 15% share of the global 5G market delivering over $150bn of economic value by 2027, with the need to establish an ecosystem with significant investment
  • 600k customers are now on 5G
  • 90K+ base stations installed, target to match LTE coverage by 2022
  • Average data usage rises more than 3 fold on 5G to over 30GB per month
  • Immersive video is the most popular content so far


Messages from some of our speakers

Vice Minister of the Korea Ministry of Science and ICT

The country is investing more than KRW30 trillion ($25 billion) through public-private partnerships by establishing the 5G Strategy Committee. It identified 15 strategic sectors and set the goal of driving an additional $150 billion in economic value by 2027.

In addition to offering tax incentives to businesses, Korea introduced regulatory ‘sandboxes’ for promoting new industries and services for 5G, which is something other countries in the region are considering.


CTO Jeon Hong-Beom said its 5G data usage also was up at least threefold compared with 4G data traffic. The operator installed 31,610 base stations nationwide.

Chun Wang-sung from KT said it learned many lessons from winter Olympics: “We have to be more creative instead of focusing on technological capabilities. Need more cooperation between operators and content creators to make use of AR and VR.”

KT is targeting smaller manufacturers in South Korea to drive new growth, with plans to introduce a smart factory offering in the second half of the year to help companies improve economies of scale and lower costs.

  • “Large manufacturers are going digital, but ICT is not applied to the same degree at smaller factories, which have little automation,” Kim Gwang-dong, SVP of future convergence policy at KT said.
  • “5G can drive digital transformation at these companies, and we are looking to them as a growth engine.” KT will manage a factory’s ICT requirements end-to-end. It aims to have 1,000 to 10,000 factories running on the smart platform by 2025.

LG Uplus

The CTO of LG Uplus Sangmin Lee mentioned at the 5G Leaders’ CxO Summit yesterday that 5G usage is averaging 1.3GB per day, up from 400MB with LTE. High usage of AR and VR functionalities are already driving 20% of 5G traffic comparing to 5% in LTE.

Kim Dae-hee of LGUplus says #5G coverage is limited to greater Seoul and other major cities but has plans to cover 85 cities and 90% of the population by end 2019. Will reach the level of LTE by the end of 2022. Monthly data usage up 3-fold to 30GB from LTE.


Lee Jong-min, head of SKT technology innovation group, claims it offers speeds of 2.7Gb/s, the fastest in Korea, using a dual 4G/5G network configuration. On its ‘T real’ platform it launched two AR/VR services for children


Hutchison Europe

  • John Blackmore, director of regulatory affairs at Hutchison Europe, said we need dialog between regulators and operators beyond the national level… otherwise, there is risk 5G could fragment

 IMDA Singapore

  • Harin Grewal at IMDA says Singapore is looking at 5G not just for higher bandwidth. It will assign 5G spectrum between Dec and Feb, with the first 5G services likely coming in 2021. “I hope the ecosystem for standalone is in place by late 2020 or early 2021.”

 A+E Network Korea

  • Soh Young-sun, A&E Korea (media), notes low-latency and multi-connectivity are more important than faster speeds. Says #5G is enabling it to develop new types of content, such as Sync View at the winter Olympics last year which gives the audience view of athletes


  • Simon Baek from InterVest pointed out that efforts in Korea to support tech start-ups are insufficient. The top two tech start-ups in the country have only about $30 million in total funding – Chinese start-ups are 100-times better funded than in Korea. Only one Korean AI start-up is in the top 100 globally. He said talent from renowned companies want to set up start-ups outside of Korea because it’s easier to get funding, noting Axiata, Ooredoo, and Etisalat invest in more start-ups than the country’s mobile players.
  • 5G can accelerate things like AI development, but “developing a 5G platform is not enough,” Baek said. In addition to incubation and acceleration of promising companies, they also need hands-on financial support.

5G experience site visit tour by KT

Future-in Lab of KT: KT Corporation Institute of Convergence Technology has 3 R&D centers: infra, service and convergence. Employs 616 researchers/staff and covers 49,318 sqm. 2018 R&D budget was $228M. Q1 CapEx was $463M, mostly on 5G. Target investing $8.1B in 5G in next 5 years.


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