South Korea is seeing less and less new blood in the telecom component and equipment sector every year, a government survey showed.
There were 44,000 people working in wireless equipment and broadcasting sector in 2018, a decrease of 7.4% from 2017, the Ministry of Science and ICT said.
South Korea has touted itself as the ‘world’s first’ to commercialize 5G networks in 2019 but this downward trend is worrying people in the industry.
Samsung said back in 2018 that it aims to secure 20% market share in 5G in 2020 but this goal seems already hard to fulfill.
The ministry started its survey back in 2005. The highest number of recorded people working in the telecom sector was 71,402 in 2010, and it has fallen every year since.
It has been awhile since the industry saw new blood, a person working in the telecom industry said, and the youngest members in some teams were in their 40s.
The little quality people are all applying to Samsung’s IT & Mobile Communication business.
According to Dell’Oro Group, Samsung had a market share of 13.2% in 5G telecom equipment in the first quarter of 2020.
A person who use to work at Samsung Network told TheElec that the business posted record sales in 2019 but is facing difficulty this year. It will fair better in 2021, they said.
At one time, the situation in the network business was so bad that Samsung considered putting it under the smartphone business.
Samsung marked 31.6% market share in 5G equipment back in the fourth quarter of 2018. This jumped to 37.8% in the first quarter of 2019.
Much of this was due to South Korea’s push to roll out 5G network in 2019.
Another person in the telecom industry said the MMIC lab at Postech, which produced the best people in wireless technology with Masters and Doctorates, was dissolved in 2017. This hurt the industry as those who graduated from the lab went to work for Samsung or formed their own companies that are leaders in the industry.
Wipam CEO Yu Dae-kyu is also an alumni of MMIC lab. The company is supplying power amplifiers to Samsung for use in their smartphones.
Samsung Mobile boss RM Roh was also an alumni of MMIC lab.