The Tokyo Olympics is not likely to be a 5G Olympics
The Tokyo Olympics is not likely to be a 5G Olympics
  • Jung So-yeon
  • 승인 2019.08.06 11:23
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Expectations that 5G service will be significantly activated through "2020 Tokyo Olympics" are becoming increasingly uncertain. 

Japan has maintained close cooperation with local mobile carriers to commercialize 5G, but it has raised difficulties on its own due to diplomatic issues, experts point out. 

According to industries on the 4th of August, it is heard that since mobile telecommunication industry is basically a domestic industry, it will not be a big blow from external influences such as excluding whitelists from Japan. 

Although there are services such as membership and simple payment in Japan through partnership with Japanese mobile telecommunication businesses, percentage of sales is low. However, it is expected that this move will cause some setbacks in the strategy of commercializing 5G, which is being pursued by the Japanese government as one of its major policies. 

Although it is necessary for commercialization of 5G, Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics' 5G Smartphone exports have been put on hold due to Japan's regulations on semiconductor materials 

Initially, the Japanese government announced the commercialization of 5G at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, setting up a plan to hold the Tokyo Olympics as the "5G Olympics." 

However when South Korea introduced 5G demonstration service at Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Japan changed its strategy to provide both pilot and commercial services. 

NTT DoCoMo, Japan's No. 1 mobile carrier, said at MWC 2019 in Spain in February, "It is expected that 3 Japanese telecommunication companies, including NTT DoCoMo, will be able to start commercial service of 5G as early as this year. We are also working closely with South Korean carriers that previously commercialized 5G."

NTT DoCoMo is a company that participated in developing a pilot 5G standard "SIG" for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics along with KT, and is the second-largest shareholder with a stake of more than 5 percent in KT. For Japan's top two mobile carriers KDDI, it is jointly developing 5G-based smart drones in partnership with LG Uplus.

However, the recent rapid cooling of Korea-Japan relations has also put a brake on the cooperative relationship between Japanese and Korean mobile carriers.

"We are not stopping cooperation with Japan right now or selling off our holdings," said an official of the South Korean mobile carrier. "But we are watching for a while because it is not easy to expand cooperation under these circumstances." 

Meanwhile, Apple's iPhone in the U.S. ranks first, followed by Sony. Apple, however, does not plan to make 5G smartphones by the second half of 2020. 

If anti-Korean sentiment is heightened due to strained relations between South Korea and Japan, it will be difficult for Japan to push for commercialization of 5G with Korean-made phones.

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