Mobile Devices

KT expands 5G coverage to a village in the Korean Demilitarized Zone

01 July 2019

Next-generation cellular communication 5G has been launched in a limited number of countries but experiments with the technology are happening all over the world, including in an isolated village in Korea's Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

South Korean telecom giant KT Corp. is rolling out 5G network coverage to the Daeseong-dong village, which has only 46 households and is just 400 meters (437 yards) away from the North Korean border. It is the only town located on the South Korea side of the 2.4 m wide DMZ.

While it is an unlikely place to establish a 5G network, the experiment is more about seeing how the technology can help improve the daily lives of the residents in the areas of welfare, education and tourism, KT said.

The 5G network was set up to oversee energy efficiency, air quality and smart farming. KT said the experiment will work as a pilot project to develop infrastructure for people living in isolated areas as the company will simultaneously expand its coverage in major cities.

The long-term goal of KT’s 5G coverage is to expand to all 85 major cities, 70 large shopping malls and discount stores and 464 college campuses.

Since the introduction of 5G, numerous companies have already started to experiment with what the next-generation cellular technology can do. KT signed an agreement to build a 5G-based autonomous vehicle infrastructure for smart city development in the Korean Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ). The initiative would create a high-definition map covering the entire IFEZ area, offering information for lanes, road conditions, speed limits and road slopes.

KT will also be one of a number of companies in Korea that will be holding an autonomous driving technology festival to showcase how 5G and self-driving vehicles work together. Other companies include SK Telecom, Samsung Electronics and Unmanned Solution will test seven 5G self-driving vehicles including four buses and three passenger cars that will run a 1.1 km long route in the Sangam district connected via a 5G telecommunication network to road facilities for various emergency services.

Meanwhile, SK Telecom is testing how next-generation television broadcasts can be used with 5G for vehicles via the ATSC 3.0 standard for ultra-high definition video and improved audio with targeted advertising and emergency alerting.

Meanwhile, Verizon is testing how 5G networks will be able to improve emergency response time for first responders. This incubator program will allow different first responder companies to develop concepts for police, firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) as well as environmental mapping tools for surveillance.

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