The South Korean government has officially gotten behind the goal of making South Korea a major player in the market for Internet-based military and commercial communications. This is not unexpected, as South Korea has long been one of the most wired nations on the planet. That’s because South Korea was an early pioneer in making high-speed Internet access available inexpensively and on a wide scale. In 2000, 40 percent of South Koreans had Internet access and ten years later that had risen to 81 percent. Thus, by 2005, over 95 percent of South Korean mobile phones had Internet access and by 2006, over half of home Internet users had high-speed access. Now all South Korean Internet users have high speed access and the speeds are the highest in the world.
Although an American firm (Apple) invented the modern smart phone in 2005, it was a South Korean firm (Samsung) that went on to become the world’s largest producer of smart phones. Samsung went on to develop encryption for its phones, a feature many commercial and military users insist on. Samsung also makes available versions of their smart phones and tablets that meet the encryption and security requirements for South Korean and American armed forces. Smart phones equipped in this way are being used by the South Korean military and offered to the armed forces of allies (especially the United States). The U.S. Army has already tested Samsung smart phones and tablets and found that they get the job done on the battlefield.
Samsung has also added features that enable their smart phones to easily work with other types of networks, including operating like walkie-talkies. South Korea firms are pioneering the use of new, more powerful, types of wi-fi and other networking technologies. This is the sort of thing the military is looking for in order to implement the “Battlefield Internet.” South Korea sees an opportunity to become a major player in a key military technology, and that’s why the South Korean government and military are eager to buy and use whatever Samsung and other South Korean telecomm companies can come up with. The U.S., which has always been reluctant to buy overseas, has made exceptions in the past and is taking Samsung and other South Korean communications companies seriously when it comes to these new forms of military communication.