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[MWC 2018] World’s biggest mobile show pictures a better future with 5G

Korean telecom firms showcase more realistic 5G services, how they change users’ lives

BARCELONA, Spain – ‘The 5G world is just around the corner’ is the key message from the Mobile World Congress 2018 which kicks off Monday for a four-day exhibition in Barcelona, Spain. 

Under the main theme of “Creating a Better Future,” mobile operators, vendors and policymakers from around the world will be showcasing their up-to-date 5G technologies and services for life and society at Fira Gran Via and Fira Monjuic. 

Compared to last year’s show that concluded the 5G world was yet too distant and the network is part of industries rather than individuals, this year’s show is to be filled with actual 5G-enabled products and services that affect people’s lives and society. 

China’s Huawei announced its first 5G chipset Balong 5G01 prior to the event. 

Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s consumer business, said the company is ready to commercialize 5G smartphones with the chipsets in the second half of this year. 

“Later on in Q3 or Q4 of this year we will launch the 5G smartphone with the 5G smartphone chipset,” Yu said. “And our infrastructure, the 5G infrastructure is readily available to commercialize.“

Huawei is expected to exhibit a lineup of 5G end-to-end equipment and solutions at its booth. Some industry officials say business models for 5G are staring to take shape. 

Korean telecom firms are going to highlight the importance of the 5G network at the show and demonstrate how the upcoming telecom network will change consumers’ life. 

SK Telecom has prepared to showcase making a 360-degree video call based on a pilot 5G network established in cooperation with Samsung Electronics at its booth. 

Models pose in front of SK Telecom‘s booth at Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. (SK Telecom)
Models pose in front of SK Telecom‘s booth at Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. (SK Telecom)

The 5G call will allow visitors to make 3-D calls while watching the surrounding area of the one on the other side of the device through the screen.

Visitors will get the chance to converse with a holographic avatar in HoloBox, the mobile carrier’s first 5G-based hologram service. 

“Users can choose their favorite K-pop stars as avatars, which will help suggest a new development stage of AI to become friendlier,” an SKT official said. 

The carrier will also introduce Social VR, a live video streaming service with VR headsets that enables real-time chats from users from any country while watching media content such as movies, art performances and sports events via the firm’s mobile media platform Oksusu. 

Park Jin-hyo, chief technology officer of SKT, said at a briefing on Sunday that such 5G media featuring augmented reality and virtual reality techs will rapidly expand its realm in the 5G industry in the next two to three years. 

“Current inconvenience with VR headsets and other hardware devices will be eased soon,” Park said. “We will be watching VR/AR content with something like sunglasses that are part of life.” 

At KT’s 5G Zone, visitors will be able to experience how fast the company’s 5G network is by using a 5G test device in comparison with a 4G network. 

The carrier will offer a chance to experience 5G broadcasting system using drones. It will demonstrate videoing a football stadium model with a drone and how the video is transmitted from the drone to a screen via 5G. 

KT will also introduce its first 5G-based blockchian service for e-document management in partnership with BC Card as one of its major 5G services along autonomous driving platform GiGA drive and visual security system GiGAeyes. 

The MWC 2018, the largest mobile industry tradeshow taking place in every February, is expected to be participated by more than 100,000 visitors and 2,300 exhibitors from 203 countries. 

By Song Su-hyun (
The Korea Herald correspondent