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6G, Korea takes the lead once again 「6G R&D implementation plan」 established


- An investment of KRW 220 billion in super performance, hyperspace, and super precision ‧ standards (until 2025)
- MoU between Korea and the US as a follow-up measure of the Korea-US Summit (about KRW 10 billion, until 2025)
- Leadership on international standard discussions with Korea making it to the chairpersons on international standard organizations (ITU, 3GPP)
- Training of experts by designating university R&D research centers (3 in 2021, 4 in 2022)

Korea gets ready for 6G, after its successful roll-out of 5G for the first time in the world.

The Ministry of Science and ICT (“MSIT”, led by Minister Lim Hyesook) held public-private "6G Strategy Meeting" as a follow-up of the Korea-US Summit to lead the upcoming 6G era and established 「6G R&D implementation plan」

At the latest Korea-US Summit the two countries agreed to build a future-oriented partnership in 6G, the future's new technology, and expand cooperation including joint research. The ministry said that all of this laid the foundation for Korea to strengthen its competitiveness on the global stage.

The global community expects that the roll-out of 6G will take place between 2028 and 2030*, given a new generation of mobile communication emerges every ten years. The next-generation mobile communication technology is the key technology not only for the great digital transition but also for the growth of the future's new industries. Thus, efforts to take lead in the advancing technology and to lead the global standards are a must to lead the global leadership.
* 3G('Japan, 2001), 4G(Europe, 2009), 5G(Korea, 2019), 6G(expected to roll out between 2028-2030)

※ Korea's journey to 5G : 4G service start in 2011, 5G standardization organization in 2012, 5G R&D started in 2013, ITU reflected Korea's strong technologies in 2017 → suggested 5G candidate technology in 2018, 5G roll-out success in 2019 for the first in the world.

Major countries such as the US and China have joined the race to lead the technology competition by expanding investments into the next-generation mobile technology. The US has recently strengthened cooperation in 6G technology with its allies, following the start of long-term R&D led by the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). China launched an organization dedicated to 6G and Japan has launched and operated a public private "Beyond 5G Consortium since 2020".

[Korea·US Joint Research MoU]

At the strategy meeting, the two sides discussed how to expand interactions including joint research in 6G, continuing the achievements of May’s Korea-US Summit. Institute for Information & Communication Technology Promotion (IITP) and National Science Foundation(NSF) signed an MoU for joint research cooperation and decided to start joint research in 6G starting from 2021.

The meeting was joined by Robert Rabson Chargé d'Affaires ad interim at U.S. Embassy in Seoul to support cooperation between Korea and the US, strengthened by the MoU signing with NSF. The two countries have agreed to actively cooperate in next-generation technologies such as 6G.

In the following meeting, the 6G R&D Implementation Plan and measures for leading global 6G standards were discussed. The experts participating in the meeting emphasized the need for active public-private cooperation in early stages of next-generation communicaions technologies to secure competitiveness in the future digital society.

[Key features of the 6G R&D Implementation Plan]

The 6G R&D Implementation Plan lays out detailed action plans for becoming a global leader in 6G technology: 1) Secure next-generation key original technologies, 2) Gain dominance in international standards and patents, and 3) Lay the foundation for 6G research and industry.

First, in order to secure next-generation key original technologies, ①the government will invest in technologies that the private sector is reluctant to invest at the moment. The ten key strategic technologies in six focus areas include Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites and ultra-precision network. A total of KRW 200 billion will be invested by 2025, and a total of KRW 17.9 billion will be invested in 2021 in 12 tasks.

The 10 Strategic Technologies in 6 Focus Areas of 6G R&D








Focus Area

Maximum 1Tbps speeds

(to realize 1Tbps speeds)

Expand support altitude to 10km above ground
(Flying cars and drones using LEO satellites)

1/10 latency compared to 5G

Apply AI to all sections of network
(core network+wireless section)

Embedded security technology

Strategic Technologies

1. Tbps wireless communication
2. Tbps optical communication

3. THz RF components
4. THz spectrum model

5. Space mobile communications
6. Space satellite communications

7. End-to-end ultra-precision network

8. Intelligent wireless access
9. Intelligent network

10. Constant network quality monitoring technology for 6G

In particular, integration of satellite networks and ground networks will be promoted so that GPS-level communications become available in the 6G era for moving aerial vehicles (e.g. flying cars, drones), for maritime use and in disaster areas. To this end, comprehensive access technology for satellite and ground networks will be developed, and the Satellite Network Technology Development Strategy, which is aimed at launching 14 LEO satellites for validation and demonstration by 2031, will be implemented.

※ In accordance with the schedules for international 6G standards, a total of 14 satellites will be sent in four stages: 1) one 5G satellite for validation will be launched in 2025; 2) three 5G satellites for demonstration will be sent in 2027; 3) three pre-6G satellites for demonstration will be sent in 2029; and 4) seven 6G satellites for demonstration will be sent in 2031.

As this year marks the beginning of 6G technology development, the focus will be on laying the ground for key original technologies and domestic production of core equipment and components, for example, by identifying technical requirements for key areas of 6G network and designing elementary technologies.

※ (2021) Identify technical requirements ⇒ (2022) Design and realize elementary technologies ⇒ (2023) Advance elementary technologies (Link different elementary technologies and perform tests) ⇒ (2024) Link different core technologies and perform tests ⇒ (2025) Stabilize/optimize core technologies

Moreover, to create global collaborative networks, Korea will promote joint studies* on core 6G technologies and 6G spectrum with major foreign countries that are carrying out government-led researh on 6G technologies, such as the U.S. (National Science Foundation, NSF), China (China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, CAICT) and Finland (University of Oulu). Korea’s 5G Forum will sign MoUs** on mutual cooperation with global 6G organizations in the private sector, such as the Next G Alliance (U.S.). International events such as 6G Global, which is scheduled for November, will be held to secure Korea’s 6G leadership.
* U.S. (2021-2025, 11 studies, KRW 9.8 bn budget), China (2021-2023, 1 study, KRW 3.3 bn), Finland (2020-2024, 2 studies, KRW 3.5 bn)
** The 5G Forum (Korea) and the Next G Alliance (U.S.) to sign an MoU for 6G cooperation.

②In regard to global 6G standardization, the achievement where the Chair of the 6G Vision Group in ITU and the 3GPP RAN1(Physical layer) Chair came from Korea has been shared. It outlines the way forward for Korea to play leading role from establishing 6G Vision which lays groundwork for standardization to take initiative in developing international standards.

※ 6G Vision Group was newly launched and Hyoungjin Choi, Principal Engineer at Samsung Electronics was appointed as Chair of the 6G Vision Group of WP5D (Working Party 5D) in ITU-R (March), Dr. Younsun Kim, Master at Samsung Research was elected as the Chair of 3GPP RAN1 (Physical layer) (May), Researcher Ki-dong Lee of LG Electronics was elected as Chair of APP Working Group of the U.S. Next G Alliance (organized by ATIS) (June)

In addition, by working together with Korean Intellectual Property Office, R&D funding and strategy for obtaining patents in the field of key 6G technologies (2 technologies selected in 2020)* having high potential for obtaining standard patents will be provided from 2021. Technologies requiring packaged support in 2022 will be additionally selected to establish roadmap in advance.
* ① Space networking technology and ② intelligent, high-precision network technology which require preemptively obtaining standard candidate technologies

③In order to create strong research and industrial foundation, 6G research centers will be established and operated in three universities in 2021 and students holding master’s and doctoral degrees will be nurtured. In addition, 6G capabilities of working-level researchers will be enhanced by scaling up the joint R&D participation (OE Solutions, FRTek and others took part in 2021) by small and medium enterprises, universities and research centers in Korea.

6G Research Centers in Universities selected in 2021


Project name

Implementing agency




(Ultra-high performance) Develop candidate elementary technology in Tbps wireless communication


5 years

Total 4.8B


(Ultra-band) Develop candidate elementary technology for RF components in THz band

Sungkyunkwan University

4 years

Total 2.3B


(Ultra-intelligence) Develop candidate elementary technology for intelligent wireless access

Korea University

5 years

Total 2.9B

In addition, global trends on 6G technology development will be shared with industry in Korea. Reports will be published and English websites will be created to showcase Korea's technologies overseas. As a result, support will be provided to 6G-related exchanges between the two countries and agencies.

[Significance of gaining dominance in 6G next-generation communications]

Minister Lim Hyesook of Science and ICT said, "As next-generation communications network lays foundation for digital innovation, the public and private sector should work together to take challenges in leading global market in 6G era based on our experiences and knowhow in network."

"Furthermore, as both countries have solid foundation for collaboration thanks to Korea-U.S. Summit, we will work together in the early stage of 6G deployment based on such cooperation. We will continue to closely cooperate with relevant ministries, large companies and small and medium-sized enterprises to secure competitiveness in the future and further strengthen Korea’s position as a digital powerhouse."

The Ministry of Science and ICT plans to smoothly implement 6G R&D by continuing work based on public and private partnership under major three subcommittees (technology, standardization/satellite, spectrum/global) to acquire key 6G technology in the future.

For further information, please contact Deputy Director Lee Byung-ho of the Ministry of Science and ICT (E-mail address :

KOGL Korea Open Government License, BY Type 1 : Source Indication The works of the Ministry of Science and ICT can be used under the terms of "KOGL Type 1".