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​SK Telecom buys half of Swiss quantum-safe crypto firm for $65m

The South Korean telco has acquired quantum-safe solutions provider ID Quantique (IDQ) which will ensure security in the coming 5G era, the company said.

SK Telecom has acquired Switzerland-based ID Quantique, which provides quantum-safe cryptography solutions, the company announced.

The South Korean telco bought over 50 percent majority shares of the firm for 70 billion won, or $65 million.

SK Telecom said the move was to ensure security in the hyper-connected 5G era.

Quantum-safe technology encrypts transmitted data using special quantum keys, which prevents interception or theft.

IDQ was founded in 2001 and launched a quantum random number generator in 2002, and later quantum key distribution systems in 2006. It has customers in North America, Europe, and the Middle East.

SK Telecom formed its own quantum technology laboratory in 2011 and developed a 5x5 millimetere quantum random number generator last year.

The two have partnered since 2016 and the telco has invested $2 million to develop a quantum random number generator chip.

Global quantum cryptography communications will grow to be worth $24.75 billion in 2025, according to Market Research Media.

SK Telecom is also planning to develop quantum cryptography satellite technology by 2022.

Last year in July, the company succeeded in reducing latency between network and handset to below 2 milliseconds in preparation for 5G.

South Korea is set to begin auctioning 5G spectrum in June this year. Telcos are expected to commercialize 5G as early as March 2019.

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