China and South Korea will roll out 5G standalone (SA) networks in the second half of 2020, market research firm Dell’O Group said.
5G SA requires 5G core networks to be installed. South Korea has only so far launched non-standaline (NSA) networks, which uses control planes of core equipment of 4G LTE networks. 5G is applied only o the data plane.
5G core equipment sales will reach US$1 billion, Dell’Oro Group said.
Chinese telecom equipment makers Huawei and ZTE each ranked first and second in 5G core equipment sales in the second quarter.
Chinese carriers are also buying 5G core equipment from Ericsson and Nokia.
Samsung Network, Nokia and Ericsson are expected to supply them to South Korean carriers.
LG Uplus, which is using Huawei equipment for its 4G and 5G RAN in the greater Seoul area, is planning to not use the Chinese company’s good for its core network.
However, multiple sources at South Korean carriers said it is not looking good for a 5G SA roll out this year.
The Ministry of Science and ICT has said in April that the country plans to roll out 5G SA network this year.
The Korea Communication Commission in July levied a 51.2 billion won fine against SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus for violating local smartphone sales law.
The telcos, in turn, promised to invest up to 710 billion won earlier than scheduled.
They launched 5G NSA network in April, 2019, on the same day as US carrier Verizon.
US carrier T-Mobile has already begin rolling out 5G SA network earlier this month. It uses 5G core equipment from Cisco and Nokia.