KT Set to Win the 6 GHz Band Wars

The sixth generation of Wi-Fi, or Wi-Fi 6, is already old news. Many routers and devices across the countries are already running on the latest generation of Wi-Fi, promising faster, more accessible access to the internet than previous bands.

However, KT, one of the three most significant telecommunication companies in South Korea, stepped up its game with the introduction of its new Wi-Fi router that supports Wi-Fi 6E. The company has ambitious goals to become a “digital platform company” through its new access point (AP). 

Wi-Fi 6E: Special Designations for Wi-Fi 6

As of today, Wi-Fi work on three different bands: 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz. Compared to the other two bands, 6 GHz offers four times bigger spaces for airwaves to get through. This means it can allow more devices to be connected over the same band of frequencies.

South Korean Ministry of Science and ICT started to provide unlicensed 6 GHz in 2020. The Ministry then said in its press release that the 6 GHz band could offer internet speed up to six times faster than the traditional Wi-Fi bands.

Wi-Fi 6
GiGA WiFi Home 6E / Courtesy of KT Corp.]

However, South Korean consumers’ demand for the new band has been limited due to the lack of available routers and consumer interest in the market.

Still, some products have applied Wi-Fi 6E to get ahead of their competitors. Wi-Fi 6E is not a new type of Wi-Fi band but a device that can support Wi-Fi 6 — designating signals to the band — with the help of a special chipset inside. While these devices will still need a router to operate over the band, the launch of Wi-Fi 6E products is expected to kick the demand up in South Korea.

GiGA Wi-Fi Home 6E” and “S-Box”

KT’s new Wi-Fi 6E product line is also in the same stream. Earlier this year, at MWC Barcelona, KT showcased GiGA Wi-Fi Home 6E, a networking hardware device that is optimised to run on Wi-Fi 6. KT told 4i Magazine the device could deliver up to 2.4 Gbps in speed when it operates with two antennas attached.

According to the company’s explanation, the AP can be used as a Wi-Fi router at home and applied on highly-efficient devices, such as artificial intelligence robots and IoT devices. It also allows multiple devices to be logged on the frequency band.

Another product the company introduced at the conference was the S-box. KT explained that S-Box is “the next generation three-in-one device” that incorporates its AP, an Android TV-based set-top box, and its flagship AI assistant software AI Giga Genie.

KT defined S-Box as a “super-compact, integrated device” that can support GiGA Wi-Fi Home 6E and “deliver enhanced space utilisation and convenience in a simple and stylish design.”

The company did not share the details of the official launch dates of both GiGA Wi-Fi Home 6E and S-Box or their prices yet. KT said that it is still in the process of developing to expand the applicability of its AP by “combining remote management capabilities.”

In the press release about the company’s participation in MWC, Senior Managing Director Yang Yul-mo said that the company’s exhibition at the conference will serve as an opportunity to demonstrate that KT has transformed from a “telecommunications operator” to a “digital platform company.” 

Yang added the company’s exhibition to serve as a “turning point” for South Korea to lead not only in information technology but also in digital transformation (DX).

Sunny Um is a Seoul-based journalist working with 4i Magazine. She writes and talks about policies, business updates, and social issues around the Korean tech industry. She is best known for in-depth explanations of local issues for readers who need a better understanding of the Korean context. Sunny’s works appeared in prominent Korean news outlets, such as the Korea Times and Wired Korea. She currently makes regular writing contributions to newsrooms worldwide, such as Maritime Fairtrade, a non-profit media organization based in Singapore. She also works as a content strategist at 1021 Creative. A person who holds a Master’s degree in Political Economy from King’s College London, she loves to follow up on news of Korean politics and economy when she’s not writing.