Samsung Eyes 5G Wireless Network Tech

Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

A man using a mobile phone walks past a Samsung Electronics Co. booth at the World IT Show 2013 in Seoul on May 21, 2013. Close

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Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

A man using a mobile phone walks past a Samsung Electronics Co. booth at the World IT Show 2013 in Seoul on May 21, 2013.

Get ready for the new kid on the tech block: 5G. And Samsung wants to be the first to make the introductions.

The tech giant that makes phones, televisions and chips said last month that it’s developed a core technology for the 5G wireless network that's hundreds of times faster than the 4G version. This means users will enjoy massive data files, like 3-D games and ultra high-definition content with very few limitations. The service, however, will probably only be ready by 2020 at best. So why should we care?

Because the world's largest technology firm is telling us outright that it’s trying to take the lead in establishing a global standard for the next wireless network. It’s a direct salvo against anyone in the tech industry.

The rivalry for technology leadership in 5G is getting "increasingly fierce," Samsung said in its May 12 statement. China already set up a government-led workforce for 5G research last year. The European Commission also plans to invest 50 million euros this year to bring 5G services to the market by 2020.

Samsung’s lion’s share in the global mobile-phone market may give it an edge over the competition. Samsung sold 69.4 million smartphones worldwide in the first quarter of 2013, accounting for one-third the global market of 210 million, Strategy Analytics said on March 25.

“5G is a next-generation technology for sure, but there's yet no standard definition of the term,” said Kim Hue Jae, a Seoul-based analyst for Daishin Securities. “Samsung failed in the 4G race to set its Wibro technology as the global standard, so they need to get the devices out first to win this one.”

If its 5G technology becomes the global standard, Samsung will deepen its pocket with patent royalties from mobile-phone makers. The company has lost to Qualcomm in the CDMA chipset race in the past. With consumers becoming ever more demanding for data-heavy movies and games, the 5G trophy is becoming the next big thing companies are fighting for.

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