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SK Telecom to set up 5G communication network for air taxis

By Kim Yoon-kyoung & Kim Tae-gyu, UPI News Korea
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An artist's concept illustrates plans for an air taxi terminal in South Korea. Image courtesy of SK Telecom
An artist's concept illustrates plans for an air taxi terminal in South Korea. Image courtesy of SK Telecom

SEOUL, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- South Korea's mobile communication giant SK Telecom has announced plans to build a dedicated communication network for air taxi services.

SK Telecom successfully finished its trial run on the fifth-generation network for unmanned aerial mobility services at the Goheung Flight Test Aerodrome, about 250 miles south of Seoul, the company announced Thursday.

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The results will help SK Telecom in building a 5G network dedicated for air taxis along a designated area in Goheung in partnership with the state-run Korea Aerospace Research Institute.

South Korea's ambition is to commercialize UAM services by 2025, enabling unmanned electric vehicles to take off and land vertically, as well as fly safely.

SK Telecom said it would allow other UAM players to use its air network.

"To introduce stable UAM services, we are required to build a high-quality 5G network for air traffic communication," SK Telecom senior official Ha Min-yong said in a statement.

"We aim to be at the lead in the 6G or the sixth-generation mobility era, where telecom services can accommodate both ground and air traffic," he said.

Experts point out that an aerial network for air taxis are different from those for traditional ground-based services.

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"Stability is key in UAM network because any problem in the network can lead to huge accidents. In addition, it cannot be vulnerable to hacking," Daelim University automotive Professor Kim Pil-soo told UPI News Korea.

"South Korea is a proven powerhouse in the telecom arena. As such, I think that we will succeed in building and operating a stable network for air taxis," he said.

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