Korea Relies Heavily on Japan for Key 5G Components

  • By Kang Dong-cheol

    November 19, 2019 12:40

    Korea became the first country to commercialize 5G mobile services in April but continues to rely heavily on Japan for key parts for relay stations and smartphones.

    According to data from the Ministry of Science and ICT on Monday, Korea still relies entirely on Japan for key 5G parts like 25 Gbps laser diodes used to transfer communication signals into fiber-optic signals, base station cables and mmWave antennas.

    Japanese manufacturers also account for 60 percent of seven components such as interconnectors that transmit data from 5G base stations, and PAMiD, which amplify power.

    Japanese firms are far more advanced than their Korean rivals in the areas of laser diodes and ultra-high-frequency smartphone antennas, with more than 100 years of research and development experience behind them.

    The ministry said it compiled the data to highlight Korea's dependency on Japanese imports and the need to develop homegrown technology, but added that the vital Japanese components account for only 11 percent of all 5G network parts.

    A ministry official said, "We will try to locate sources beyond Japan and come up with a W13.1 billion budget to develop our own technology (US$1=W1,165)."

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