Korean telcos are speeding up their partnerships with automakers and development of the fifth-generation network infrastructure to embrace upcoming connected and self-driving cars that could become new revenue streams for the telcos.
A connected car is a vehicle that provides safety, convenience and infotainment for drivers by integrating automobiles with information technology. It requires a 5G network that enables the transmission of massive data generated from vehicles and road infrastructure.
Lee Kyung-soo, a professor at Seoul National University said of the development that:
“When a 5G network is commercialized, mobile carriers will see vast business opportunities from connected cars such as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, car infotainment and digital maps.”
The nation’s three mobile telcos KT, SK Telecom and LG Uplus have begun to embrace opportunities by cooperating with local and global automakers.
KT is working with Hyundai Motor for the automaker’s connected-car system Blue Link enabling drivers to connect their smartphones or smartwatches to their vehicles via a wireless communications network and also with Mercedes-Benz Korea for its Mercedes me Connect service providing network and map technologies.
Meanwhile, SK Telecom demonstrated the 5G network within a connected car early this year in partnership with BMW Korea and Ericsson.
Meanwhile the smallest of the nation’s mobile telcos, LG Uplus, also partnered with Ssangyong Motor and Tech Mahindra, the internet technology unit of Indian automaker Mahindra to develop connected cars in September last year.
Telecos are also developing 5G network infrastructure for self-driving cars in partnership with regional governments.
KT said earlier this month that it had joined the self-driving pilot city in Pangyo, Gyeonggi Province, to build a pilot 5G network this year. The pilot city will become the world’s first residential area for self-driving cars by 2019. SK Telecom also announced last month it would build 5G network infrastructure in K-City, a pilot city for self-driving automobiles.