South Korea recently announced plans to roll out a 300mbps wireless infrastructure with plans to expand to 450mbps. On top of this, they have begun preparations for the future of telecommunications – a 5G network that boasts speeds of 1 GBPs slated to be commercially available in 2020 or six years’ time. Let’s put this into perspective. We crawl (relatively) at a snail’s pace with our 4G technology – current speeds for existing infrastructure caps out at about 75 mbps. SK Telecom and LG U+ are in development to roll out services 4-6 times faster that will utterly crush the US and the rest of the world under the heels of their shiny new Nikes.
Economics aside, it’s no secret that people love technology, consumer technology in particular. Imagine then, that whatever you can access on your smart device through the internet is virtually instant – this is the seemingly inevitable goal of computing power and the expansion of information infrastructure. How much more value would we get out of our devices? How awesome would it be when the ability to download and view a HD or 4k film (30GB average size), in just under 4 minutes, is at our fingertips?
For those of you that remember the dial-up modem days, this is what the internet will feel like in comparison. It’s not surprising then, that American citizens “in the know” are upset at paying ridiculously marked up prices for inferior telecommunications services – and these transactions are about to get a lot worse for consumers and businesses alike.
It’s not all doom and gloom for our wireless infrastructure though. While the difference in country size between the US and South Korea is a key issue in the upgrading of infrastructure, with any hope, these moves by SK Telecom, LG, and others will galvanize competition. As more and more consumers become aware of emerging realities and possibilities of the internet, American telecom companies will take their cues and develop something to help us increase our rate of information exchange. We’d all love to be able to instantly stream 4k YouTube clips and Netflix movies. We’d all love to squeeze the maximum potential out of our tech and devices; its not only an American sentiment – it’s a human sentiment. More than anything, it’s just good business sense.