SK Telecom Expands its Foothold in the Global Quantum Cryptography Market

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SK Telecom announced that ID Quantique has been awarded a project funded by the European Union and launches a new range of quantum random number generators.

ID Quantique, based in Switzerland, is the global leader in the field of quantum cryptography communication. SK Telecom has invested in the world’s No.1 quantum communication company in February 2018 and integrated its Quantum Tech Lab with ID Quantique. ID Quantique now has offices in Switzerland, Korea, the US and UK, and is rapidly expanding its business throughout the globe.

The European Union has launched a 3-year European research project, named Open Quantum Key Distribution (OPENQKD), that will install test quantum communication infrastructures in several European countries. It will boost the security of critical applications in the fields of telecommunication, finance, health care, electricity supply and government services. The project will lay the groundwork for a pan-European quantum communication infrastructure that uses satellite as well as ground-based solutions.

For this €15 million project, the European Union has selected 38 companies and research institutes across the continent, including ID Quantique, Deutsche Telekom, Orange and Nokia.

Since establishing Quantum Tech Lab in 2011, SK Telecom has been making aggressive efforts to develop quantum cryptography technologies to enhance the safety and security of its mobile networks. In March 2019, the company has applied ID Quantique’s Quantum Random Number Generator (QRNG) to its 5G authentication center (AuC) to prevent hacking and ensure quantum-safe security. It has also applied ID Quantique’s Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) technology to the Seoul-Daejeon section – the most data traffic-concentrated section in Korea – of its 5G and LTE networks, to strengthen the security of 5G and LTE data transmission and reception.

In the fourth quarter of 2019, SK Telecom and ID Quantique plan to boost the sales of QRNGs through a strengthened product lineup for diverse manufacturers including self-driving cars, data centers, and mobile devices. Its powerful lineup includes ultra-small QRNG chipset (4.2mmX5mm) for self-driving cars; ultra-fast QRNG equipment for data centers; and QRNG in a PICe card format offering greater functionalities.

“In the 5G era, security will become increasingly important as all connected things will generate data,” said Park Jin-hyo, the Chief Technology Officer of SK Telecom. “SK telecom will make continued investment in quantum cryptography communication technologies to secure the world’s top competitiveness in this area.”

Moreover, SK Telecom and ID Quantique are playing a pivotal role in global standardization of QKD and QRNG technologies at ITU-T. At present, SK Telecom is the only company in the world to lead a total of four work items related to quantum cryptography technology. Also, its proposed standard recommendation related to the security framework of quantum random number generator has received preliminary approval for international standardization at ITU-T meeting held last month in Geneva, Switzerland. After discussion by ITU-T member countries, it will become a global standard.


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