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South Korea develops plans to create smart factories using 5G

The Korean government launched a 5G smart factory alliance with 19 companies and organizations

The South Korean government announced plans to work with information and communication technology companies to apply 5G technologies in advanced production lines to create smart factories, Korean news agency Yonhap reports.

The ministries of industry, technology and start-ups launched a “5G smart factory alliance” with 19 companies and organizations, including SK Telecom, Samsung Electronics, Microsoft Korea Inc., Ericsson-LG and Siemens Korea, among others.

The Korean government said that the main aim of this new industry alliance is to standardize 5G application technologies and explore new business models.

During the launching event, mobile operator SK Telecom demonstrated how to use 5G technology to conduct real-time quality checks and operate automated logistics systems at the smart manufacturing innovation center in Ansan, south of Seoul.

“Commercialization of the 5G network paved the way for South Korea to advance the development of smart factories,” said Jang Hong-seong, who is in charge of SK Telecom’s IoT and data projects. “5G smart factories will create new values that surpass the present performance and market expectations.”

The alliance is part of the government’s broader plan to create 30,000 smart factories and 10 smart industrial zones by 2022 to upgrade the South Korean manufacturing industry’s competitiveness, according to the report.

The plan will provide financing of up to KRW 2 trillion ($1.7 billion) for establishing the advanced manufacturing infrastructure and creating a KRW 300 billion fund for companies pushing to build smart factories.

The smart factory initiative also calls for the participation of provincial governments to provide customized solutions for small and medium-sized companies and offers incentives for large enterprises that collaborate with smaller firms in building high-tech factories.

“It is time to adopt the smart strategy to create added value by improving the productivity and the connectivity of each factory,” Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo said. “We will explore ways to maximize the synergy effect by creating smart industrial complexes.”

In June, South Korea completed a tender process through which it awarded spectrum in both the 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz bands. The government made available a total of 280 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz spectrum band and 2,400 megahertz in the 28 GHz band. The spectrum was divided into 28 blocks and 24 blocks.

Participant operators SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus had a 10-block cap per spectrum band. The telcos paid a total of 3.6183 trillion won ($3.3 billion) for the spectrum, 340 billion won higher than the starting price of 3.3 trillion won.

Operators were able to begin using the 5G frequencies as of this month, with the 3.5 GHz band licenses covering a ten-year period and the 28 GHz band licenses a five-year term.

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