South Korean major mobile carrier KT Corp. has selected Samsung Electronics Co., Nokia OYJ., and Ericsson Inc. as fifth-generation (5G) equipment providers while snubbing China’s Huawei that is rapidly expanding its presence in the global telecom equipment market, in the race.
According to multiple sources from the government and industry on Friday, KT decided to work with Samsung Electronics, Nokia, and Ericsson to build 5G infrastructure network in the country, and following its decision, the country’s all three major mobile carriers - SK Telecom Co., KT, and LG Uplus Corp. - have finally chosen their equipment partners for 5G network and get ready to provide long-awaited 5G services in the country.
An unnamed senior government official said that as the country’s three telecom majors’ selection of equipment partners had been delayed than initially expected, some mobile carriers decided to skip the process of selecting preferred bidders and immediately signed final contracts to speed up the launch of 5G services in the country that is targeted in March next year. If they start 5G services as planned, Korea would be the world’s first country to commercialize 5G services, the official added.
SK Telecom announced last month that it would work with Samsung Electronics, Nokia, and Ericsson, and completed its first 5G call, which is a final procedure to test normal transmission of data in the same commercial service environment.
LG Uplus has also chosen Huawei, Nokia, and Samsung Electronics as its 5G telecom equipment providers, becoming the only Korean mobile carrier that will work with China’s leading telecom equipment maker that has been shunned by other competitors in Korea and some countries due to security concerns.
All three Korean mobile carriers initially considered adopting Huawei’s equipment, but only LG Uplus that has been using Huawei equipment in its existing long-term evolution network decided to work with Huawei.
The Chinese company has speedily developed 5G equipment and secured price competitiveness as to other industry rivals, but some security concerns with its devices have been raised across the world, prompting overall public opposition in Korea.
An unnamed industry official said that there are no security issues involved when it comes to Huawei equipment but there are concerns that problems could rise in the process of equipment operations in the future.
The United States, Australia, and Japan have even taken government actions to ban the application of Huawei equipment, citing possible security issues.
By Shin Chan-ok and Lee Eun-joo
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]