Two of South Korea's largest and most well-known companies, Samsung and LG, have traditionally been fierce rivals in the consumer electronics space. But now, Samsung Electronics and wireless carrier LG U+ (a subsidiary of LG Electronics) have announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly develop fifth generation wireless telecommunications network, or 5G. Samsung expressed hope that the new tie-up would prove beneficial to both partners, and help usher in the future of mobile telecommunication in South Korea and beyond. The partnership's R&D will focus on identification and standardization of 5G spectrum globally, in close cooperation with the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) IMT-2020 promotion group. The companies also propose to co-develop Full Dimension Multiple Input Multiple Output (FD-MIMO) antenna technology, so as to attain the true potential of 5G's data transfer speeds.
The official MoU signing ceremony was held on June 25th in the presence of almost one hundred senior staff members from both companies. Samsung and LG U+ have together set the year 2020 as the "5G Readiness Target". While another South Korean wireless carrier, KT, has already announced plans to unveil its 5G networks during the 2018 Winter Olympics to be held in the East Asian country, it also believes 2020 to be a more realistic target for the commercialization of 5G networks globally. Earlier this week, 5G speeds were defined by the ITU as "capable of transmitting data at up to 20 gigabits-per-second". At those theoretical top speeds, high bit-rate 4K movies will take under 10 seconds to download, provided of course, the server you're downloading from, and the client computer at your end, both support such speeds.
Announcing the MoU, Samsung Electronics released a statement, saying the two companies in the partnership will jointly "prepare a collaborative white paper on 5G spectrum standardization and will appear jointly at key industry events to address this issue. As part of their submission for the upcoming World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC), the South Korean telecommunications industry and government have proposed the following six 5G spectrum bands as suitable for global usage: 27 – 29.5GHz, 31.8 – 33.4 GHz, 37 – 42.5 GHz, 45.5 – 50.2 GHz, 50.4 – 52.6 GHz, and 64 – 74 GHz".
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Sun Tae Kim, Executive Vice President of LG U+'s Service and Development Division added, "Together we will be well-prepared for the 5G era. Through close collaboration and by leveraging LG U+'s extensive network management understanding and Samsung's technology leadership, we hope to lead the next generation of telecommunications technology, not only in Korea, but around the world".