Cisco Systems is heading into South Korea with help from telco KT and electronics giant Samsung. How will it fare with a 5G network?
Korean telecommunications giant KT said recently that it aims to jointly develop a fifth-generation (5G) network with Cisco Systems under new corporate initiatives being pursued by KT CEO Hwang Chang-gyu.
“While 5G is still just a concept rather than a reality, you should keep in mind that being proactive means thinking and acting ahead of anticipated trends,” said a KT executive.
In a statement, KT said that they have discussed opportunities with senior executives at Nokia Solution & Networks, Ericsson and Cisco on how to collaborate for the development of 5G wireless technology.
In a statement issued by KT they claimed that they have successfully developed a “heterogeneous network,” allowing the company to provide its services to customers regardless of spectrum and frequencies.
The 5G technology will help facilitate a world where everything is connected and network download speeds will likely be 20 gigabps (Gbps) or faster. 5G will become a reality around 2020, according to KT officials, and will herald a new age in internet connectivity, which some bill as a tech disruption as profound as the birth of the internet in the 90s.
KT also recently became the top Korean carrier, in terms of the quality of 4G LTE wireless technology in a survey by market research firm OpenSignal. KT said its LTE downloading speeds were 21.3 Mbps, which places the company sixth among 40 leading global telecom companies, and top in Korea.
Samsung-Google-Cisco patent alliances
As reported by the Korea Joongang Daily, Samsung has also signed a long term patent licensing deal with Cisco and Google. “As a result, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer, Internet software and networking equipment companies have formed a triangular patent alliance.
Dan Lang, vice president of intellectual property and deputy general counsel at Cisco Systems claimed that “Innovation has been somewhat constrained due to the excessive litigations over patents in recent years. The new partnership will be able to reverse the daunted atmosphere and accelerate innovation.”
Samsung and Cisco entered the cross-licensing agreement on a wide range of products and technologies to avoid patent lawsuits. Through the deal, both companies will be able to concentrate on growth, which will also provide more benefits to customers of Samsung and Cisco, said Ahn Seung-ho, the head of Samsung’s Intellectual Property Center. Industry analysts predict the alliance could be expanded to other global IT companies, and the industry could be structuring itself into blocks of allied forces. The agreement includes not only existing patents but new ones gained by Samsung and Cisco in the next 10 years, and mirrors a similar deal struck earlier between Samsung and Google.
“Innovation has been somewhat constrained due to the excessive litigations over patents in recent years,” said Mr. Lang at Cisco Systems. “The new partnership will be able to reverse the daunted atmosphere and accelerate innovation.”
Samsung Electronics had 30,000 patents in Korea and the United States as of the end of 2012 and 10,000 patents in Europe. In the United States, the Korean manufacturer is the second largest patent owner following IBM.
The number of Google’s patents related to telecommunications reached 50,000 after it acquired Motorola’s mobile business for $12.5 billion in 2012. Google has secured 1,920 patents in the United States alone. Cisco Systems has accumulated a patent portfolio numbering 10,000 by acquiring 41 companies in the last 10 years.
“The patent alliance of the three companies is seen as a move to defend against reckless patent litigations caused by patent management companies such as NPE, which profits by receiving royalties from patent litigations,” said Kim Il-hwan, a local patent attorney at Zenith Patent and Law Firm.
“Samsung Electronics seems to be banking on the patent alliance as global competition with Apple in its cash cow mobile sector has been tough. The licensing deal with leading IT patent giants will likely give Samsung a comparative advantage over Apple.”
Just one month earlier, Samsung made licensing deals with Ericsson and Google. It purchased 33,000 patents from Ericsson and will share 150,000 Google patents, including those acquired by the company in the next 10 years.
Industry analysts predict Samsung will make similar deals with Qualcomm and leading semiconductor company Intel.
The CEOs of Samsung and Apple are scheduled to meet soon to seek to resolve their differences by Feb. 19 as ordered by a U.S. court. The latest alliance is expected to work to Samsung’s advantage in the court battle.
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