South Korea's biggest mobile telco says 5G has failed to deliver on its promise

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SK Telecom, South Korea's ascendant mobile bearer and related of chipmaker SK hynix, has declared that 5G was over-hyped, has under-delivered, and has grounded to present a slayer app.

The telco offered that appraisal successful a caller white paper [PDF] titled "5G Lessons Learned, 6G Key Requirements, 6G Network Evolution, and 6G Spectrum."

The insubstantial opens pinch an unflattering appraisal of 5G, which nan authors callback being sold arsenic an enabler of autonomous driving, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAM), extended reality (XR) and integer twins. Those applications were possible, but did not win owed to a operation of "device shape facet constraints, immaturity of instrumentality and work technology, debased aliases absent marketplace demand, and policy/regulation issues." The capacity of 5G networks was not nan issue, nan insubstantial argues.

A assortment of visionary services were expected, but location was nary slayer service

The telco based on that immoderate of nan goals group retired by nan UN's world standardization org ITU-R for 5G were met, but galore tasks are still acold from completion 4 years into nan technology's commercialized deployment. Those goals were meant to beryllium realized successful nan agelong word – but that anticipation was not accurately conveyed to consumers, starring to "excessive expectations."

It's easy to spot really consumers mightiness expect a monolithic measurement alteration – arsenic was nan lawsuit erstwhile 3G evolved into LTE and nan mobile net became vastly much usable. But 5G consists of incremental improvements continually rolling retired connected apical of existing exertion – meaning users will beryllium little apt to announcement them.

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Despite these challenges, 5G has delivered immoderate wins. SK Telecom's insubstantial pointed to a 70 percent simplification successful information costs per gigabyte compared to LTE. Customers connected 5G truthful usage 50 percent much information than those tied to nan erstwhile procreation standard.

It is basal to creation an architecture that tin support work quality, including velocity knowledgeable by customers, astatine a level adjacent to aliases higher than that of existing services

The achromatic insubstantial suggests 6G – which is already successful improvement and expected to debut successful 2030 – tin debar nan mistakes made pinch 5G.

For instance, nan telco argues that each participants successful nan ecosystem should activity together – which could consequence successful expanded usage cases, amended spectrum management, much usage of unfastened interfaces, and simpler architecture options.

By being very clear astir which products and services 6G tin enable, stakeholders tin champion group goals for nan modular and forestall fragmented architecture – each while managing nationalist expectations astir nan benignant of services that will result.

"It is basal to creation an architecture that tin support work quality, including velocity knowledgeable by customers, astatine a level adjacent to aliases higher than that of existing services," nan insubstantial suggests.

It's 2023 truthful there's gotta beryllium immoderate AI

The occurrence of 6G, SK Telecom's insubstantial argues, will besides dangle connected nan improvement of AI and sensing technology, without which nan technologies that will thin connected this adjacent procreation of cellular broadband networks won't perform. Many of those technologies are conscionable much developed versions of ones already cited for 5G – for illustration autonomous driving, XR, UAM, and integer twins. For example, Level 4 afloat autonomous driving will require 6G.

SK Telecom suggested that it plans to return nan lead successful processing 6G technology, and lend to Korea becoming a world ICT leader. Other leaders see nan US and China – nan second of which began its 6G-related investigation successful 2017. Japan and nan EU are besides making their ain efforts.

But not everyone is focused connected 6G. According to nan Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), worldwide 5G user connections surpassed 1 cardinal astatine nan extremity of 2022 and are expected to scope 2 cardinal by nan extremity of 2025.

That maturation is to travel from markets successful Asia Pacific and Latin America – for illustration Brazil and India, who person conscionable started their 5G journeys.

And for each nan punishment and gloom connected 5G, GSMA declared it "the fastest generational roll-out, erstwhile compared to 3G and 4G" – which really ought to count for something. ®