Korean telecom SK Telecom has signed an agreement with Chinese electric vehicle startup Byton to develop in-vehicle infotainment systems using its 5G network.
The agreement took place at this week’s CES 2020 in Las Vegas and will integrate digital products and services such as mobile connectivity, navigation, music/video streaming and voice control for the Korean market.
5G, the next generation of cellular communication, is expected to allow for download speeds of more than 10 times that of the current generation as well as low latency and higher bandwidth. As such, the companies believe that 5G will bring seamless and reliable in-car entertainment and that 5G connectivity will allow drivers to receive large-volumes of ultra-high-definition services at high speeds as well as provide HD maps and traffic information in real-time.
SK Telecom said its 5G network could help Byton increase the car experience as well as move toward autonomous vehicles. Byton plans to jointly produce M-Byte vehicles at Myoung Shin Co.’s Gunsan plant for the Korean market. As part of the agreement, the companies will discuss ways to facilitate the distribution of Byton’s electric vehicles in Korea.
Since SK Telecom launched its 5G service in April 2019, the Korean telecom giant has been very aggressive with its rollout of 5G services, having recently launched roaming services in Switzerland while working with Swisscom to expand service to users. The company has also started experimenting with different ways to use 5G services beyond just for smartphones. This includes demonstrating next-generation television broadcasting in future cars with a 5G network and ATSC 3.0, developing HD maps for autonomous vehicles that automatically update road information and hazards, and testing how 5G networks can bring new services to small villages by demonstrating the network in an isolated village in Korea's Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).