SKT and DT continue 5G collaboration with joint venture in Germany

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The companies will each hold a 50% stake, and appoint a leader for the new entity which will have headquarters in Germany.

SK Telecom (SKT) and Deutsche Telekom (DT) announced an agreement to set up a 5G technology joint venture.

The plan is for the two companies to develop advanced 5G in-building solutions and market opportunities starting with Europe.

In the mid-to-long-term, they will also evaluate opportunities to cooperate in the areas of augmented reality and virtual reality services, mobile edge computing (MEC) and the app market.

Repeater market is wide open

According to Markets and Markets, the global market for in-building Distributed Antenna System (DAS) is expected to be worth $10.33 billion (€8.71 billion) by 2023, at a compound annual growth rate of 10.1%between 2018 and 2023.

As there is not a dominant provider of 5G repeaters, the joint venture intends to pioneer the market, drawing on expertise and resources from both partners.

SKT will contribute the technology assets it has developed: It has already provided 5G/LTE dual-mode repeaters to support DT’s customer trial for in-building coverage carried out in eight German cities – Berlin, Hamburg, Bonn, Cologne, Munich, Darmstadt, Frankfurt and Leipzig – from August to October 2020.

Customers’ trials have shown considerable improvement in 5G and LTE for voice and data experience with this test device, which the JV intends to develop for commercial use.

Much higher goal

Tim Höttges*, CEO of Deutsche Telekom, said, “The first feedback from repeater customer trial has shown the value of our partnership – for us, but more importantly, for our customers. We will start with the repeater, but this joint venture is aiming at a much higher goal. That goal is to create major innovations for both companies fin the years to come"

“The Partnership between SKT and Deutsche Telekom is very meaningful at a time when the world is heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Park Jung-ho, CEO of SK Telecom.

“The deepened bond between the two companies will play an important role as a bridge between Asia and Europe and lead us to new technologies that can bring greater value to humanity.”

The creation of the JV is still subject to mandatory regulatory approval but expected to close before the end of the year.

The companies have a long history of collaborating on 5G stretching back to an R&D agreement they signed at Mobile World Congress 2016 and a partnership on intercontinental 5G announced in August 2016.

*Höttges is pictured with Park Jung-ho, CEO SK Telecom, and their teams on a joint video conference.