[THE INVESTOR] BARCELONA, Spain -- Fifth-generation mobile technology is undoubtedly the overwhelming buzzword at the Mobile World Congress 2018 which kicks off on Feb. 26 (local time) for a four-day run in Barcelona, Spain.
Under the theme of “Creating a Better Future,” mobile operators, vendors and policymakers from around the world are set to showcase their latest 5G technologies and services at Fira Gran Via and Fira Monjuic.
Compared to last year’s show which concluded that 5G was yet too distant, and that the technology is more for industries rather than individuals, this year’s show will be filled with actual 5G-enabled products and services.
In fact, prior to this year’s event, China’s Huawei already announced its first 5G chipset Balong 5G01.
Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s consumer business, said the company is ready to commercialize 5G smartphones in the second half of this year.
“Either in third or fourth quarter, we will launch 5G smartphones with the chipset, and our infrastructure is already available to be commercialized,” he said.
Even as Huawei is expected to exhibit a lineup of 5G end-to-end equipment and solutions, industry officials say business models for the next-generation technology are starting to take shape.
Korean telecom firms are also going to highlight the importance of 5G network at the show and demonstrate how the technology will change consumers’ life.
SK Telecom is preparing to showcase a 360-degree video call based on a pilot 5G network established in cooperation with Samsung Electronics. The 5G call will allow visitors to make on-site 3-D calls.
Visitors will also get the chance to converse with a holographic avatar in HoloBox, the mobile carrier’s first 5G-based hologram service.
“Users can choose their favorite K-pop stars as avatars, which will help suggest a new development stage of artificial intelligence to become friendlier,” an SKT official said.
The carrier will also introduce Social VR, a live video-streaming service with VR headsets that enables real-time chats from users in any country while watching media content such as movies, art performances and sports events via the firm’s mobile media platform Oksusu.
Park Jin-hyo, chief technology officer of SKT, said at a briefing on Feb. 25 that such 5G media featuring augmented reality and virtual reality techs will rapidly expand its realm in the next two to three years.
“Current inconveniences involving VR headsets and other hardware devices will be eased soon,” Park said. “We will be watching VR/AR content with something like sunglasses that are part of life.”
At KT’s 5G Zone, visitors will be able to experience the speed of its 5G network compared to 4G. The carrier will also offer a chance to experience 5G broadcasting system using drones. It will tape a football stadium model with a drone, and show how the video is transmitted from the drone to a screen via 5G. The carrier’s first 5G-based blockchain service will be on display as well, along with its autonomous driving platform GiGA drive and visual security system GiGAeyes.
MWC 2018 is the world’s largest mobile industry tradeshow that takes place every February. More than 100,000 visitors and 2,300 exhibitors from 203 countries are expected to participant in the latest edition.
By Song Su-hyun/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org)
There are slight variations to The Korea Herald articles appearing on The Investor. - Ed.