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KT shows off 5G’s potential at Asian Games

The South Korean telecoms bigwig is showcasing a host of 5G applications at the Asian Games in the run up to the commercial launch of its 5G network next year

South Korean telco KT has pulled out the stops to showcase its 5G prowess at the ongoing Asian Games in Indonesia before it launches its commercial 5G service at home in March 2019.

The next-generation mobile technology is being showcased at the 5G zone located in the Telkomsel 5G experience centre at Jakarta’s Bung Karno stadium, the primary venue for the sporting event. Telkomsel is Indonesia’s largest telecoms operator.

KT’s experience zone features 5G-enabled technologies such as Free View, which lets users view badminton and basketball games from different angles in stereoscopic vision. Basketball is one of three sports in which a joint North-South Korean team will compete during the event.

Visitors can also try out virtual reality games and experience virtual theme parks using 5G tablets, and imagine themselves with a gold medal using a stereoscopic 3D screen.

The 5G zone follows an earlier trial at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February 2018, when KT tested augment reality, wireless backhaul and a host of other 5G applications.

“As a telecom leader representing the Republic of Korea, KT will show the world its advanced 5G technology and services at Asia's largest sports festival,” said Lee Pil-Jai, head of KT’s marketing group. “We hope players and people from all around the world get an early taste of various 5G services before KT’s commercial launch early next year.”

A commercial 5G network in South Korea is expected to create at least 30.3tn won ($27bn) in socio-economic value in 2025, or 1.5% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), growing to $42bn in 2030, according to a recent report by the KT Economic and Management Research Institute.

Read more about 5G in APAC

Asia presents a unique setting for 5G – a populous region with fast-growing, increasingly digital economies that have a desire for speed and connectivity.

By 2022, there will be 280 million 5G subscriptions in Asia-Pacific, with 5G service revenues reaching $4.5bn, according to Frost & Sullivan, a technology research firm

Countries such as South Korea, China and Japan have emerged as the forerunners in rolling out 5G. But successful 5G implementations in other parts of Asia is still an open question, particularly in developing countries where demand for 5G services is likely to be muted, said Quah Mei Lee, industry principal for ICT practice at Frost & Sullivan.

“Though it is possible for developing nations to jump to 5G, a key question to consider is the need for 5G within and beyond government-driven initiatives,” said Quah. “Cost remains a limiting factor and mobile operators are assessing the capabilities of 4G before deciding to invest in 5G to supplement it.”

Industry experts have said 5G’s true potential rests in enterprise applications that promise to spur the next wave of industrial digitisation and automation, from predictive maintenance to autonomous vehicles.

Read more on Telecoms networks and broadband communications

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