South Korea looks to enhance network competitiveness with K-Network 2030 strategy

Ricky Tu, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei 0

Credit: AFP

The K-Network 2030 strategy allotted a KRW625.3 billion (about US$500 million) budget for 6G mobile communication technology research and development from 2024 through 2028, eyeing to enhance the country's competitiveness in telecommunication technologies, according to DIGITIMES Research's latest study on South Korea's telecommunication industry.

South Korea released the K-Network 2030 strategy in February 2023, aimed at building state-of-the-art communication networks and making South Korea an ICT and Internet superpower.

Moreover, in an effort to secure its leadership in next-generation network communication technologies, South Korea also plans to develop satellite communication with a focus on low Earth orbit (LEO) technologies and quantum communication that can enhance data security.

As part of the K-Network 2030 strategy, South Korea sets the goal of developing world-leading 6G communication capabilities. Compared to the former president Moon Jae-in's 6G R&D implementation plan, released in 2020, the K-Network 2030 strategy has tripled the budget for 6G development while broadening the research scope which currently includes five major areas: ultra-performance, ultra-bandwidth, 6G commercialization technologies, upstream supply chain and international standards, the study show.

With respect to 6G commercialization technologies, as opposed to the existing 6G R&D implementation plan, which targets the sub-THz bands (frequencies above 100GHz), the K-Network 2030 strategy extends the research scope to the upper-mid bands (7-24GHz) and also aims to assist the country to gain the ability to manufacture key components for communication in the upper-mid bands.

Unlike the existing 6G R&D implementation plan, which does not support the research of cloud computing, software and compliance with international standards, the K-Network 2030 strategy not only aims to develop cloud-native core network software featuring scalability as well as base station software helping telecom operators reduce costs, but also strives to keep abreast of international 6G standard developments.

DIGITIMES Research found that satellite communication and quantum communication are among the key development items listed in the K-Network 2030 strategy. Apart from building a pilot satellite communication network, South Korea is determined to increase its self-sufficiency in satellite communication antennas and modem chips while working on wired and wireless hybrid quantum cryptographic communication. As the K-Network 2030 strategy's KRW625.3 billion budget does not cover satellite and quantum communication, South Korea is expected to step up its investment toward next-generation network technology R&D.