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South Korea building 5G network 1000x faster than 4G

South Korea plans to spend ₩1.6 trillion on a 5G network, for completion by the year 2020.

South Korea plans to spend ₩1.6 trillion on a 5G network, for completion by the year 2020.

(Credit: Internet 3D image by Giuseppe1999, CC BY-SA 3.0)

4G still hasn't reached all -- or even most -- of Australia, but already the web-forward South Korea is gearing up to produce the world's first 5G network. As reported by South Korean news website Yonhap News, the country will spend around ₩1.6 trillion -- around AU$1.69 billion -- through cooperation with local companies such as Korea Telecom, SK Telecom, Samsung and LG to build the next-generation network.

The "Creative 5G Mobile Strategy", which the South Korea science ministry claims will be 1000 times faster than current 4G networks -- fast enough to download an 800MB full-length film in under a second -- aims for a trial service to be rolled out by 2017, and to be completed by 2020.

"We helped fuel national growth with 2G services in the 1990s, 3G in the 2000s and 4G around 2010. Now it is time to take preemptive action to develop 5G," the science ministry said in a statement. "Countries in Europe, China and the US are making aggressive efforts to develop 5G technology...and we believe there will be fierce competition in this market in a few years."

The ministry also said that the new network would allow travellers on bullet trains travelling at speeds of 500 kilometres an hour to access the internet. At the moment, the limit is 300 kilometres per hour.

Rivals currently working on 5G networks include Huawei in China, NTT Docomo in Japan, and Samsung, also in South Korea.