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SK Telecom to Invest in ID Quantique, the Global Leader in Quantum-Safe Crypto Solutions
02/28/2018 | By Netmanias (tech@netmanias.com)

Park Jung-ho, CEO and President of SK Telecom, and Grégoire Ribordy, CEO of IDQ, are holding hands during a meeting to discuss SK Telecom’s investment.

 

SK Telecom announced on February 26 that the company will invest KRW 70 billion (US$ 65 million) in ID Quantique (IDQ), the world’s No.1 quantum-safe cryptography solutions provider based in Switzerland.

 

In the hyper-connected 5G era where some 43 billion things worldwide* get connected through wireless networks, the importance of security on mobile communications will rise exponentially.

 

Against this backdrop, quantum cryptography has emerged as an essential solution. The technology encrypts transmitted data using special quantum keys, which are impossible to intercept or steal.

 

As the first South Korean conglomerate to establish a quantum technology laboratory in 2011, SK Telecom has continuously invested in the development of quantum cryptography for wireless communications networks. In 2017, the company developed the world’s smallest (5x5mm) Quantum Random Number Generator (QRNG)**.

 

SK Telecom has maintained a close partnership with IDQ since 2016. The company invested KRW 2.5 billion (US$ 2 million) and co-developed the Quantum Random Number Generator chip with the Swiss company.

 

Established in 2001, IDQ launched the world’s first Quantum Random Number Generator in 2002 and the world’s first commercial Quantum Key Distribution (QKD)*** systems in 2006. IDQ’s co-founders Prof. Nicolas Gisin and Prof. Hugo Zbinden of Geneva University are proof of the company’s continuing strength in research and innovation.

 

Thanks to IDQ’s extensive global partnerships that range from telecommunication service providers and transmission equipment companies to space agencies in North America, Europe and the Middle East- the latest investment is expected to further reinforce SK Telecom’s position in the field of quantum-safe communications.

 

According to market research firm Market Research Media, the global quantum cryptography communications will grow into a KRW 26.9 trillion (US$ 24.75 billion) industry by 2025.

 

“In the 5G era where everything in the real world is connected wirelessly, the issue of safety will continue to rise,” said Park Jung-ho, CEO and President of SK Telecom. “We will continue our utmost efforts to provide our customers with the world’s safest 5G technology.”

 

“Quantum communications technologies will play a significant role in securing our data and communications, both in backbone networks and at the edge, in an era where the quantum computer will render vulnerable much of today’s cryptography,” added Dr Grégoire Ribordy, CEO and co-Founder of IDQ. “Partnering with SK Telecom will allow us to accelerate development of leading-edge solutions to meet these market needs.”

 

ID Quantique and SK Telecom will, in parallel, collaborate in the field of Quantum Sensing in order to keep growing the company’s core quantum photonics technologies and provide the most innovative solutions for high potential industrial markets.

 

* based on data by market research firm Gartner about expected number of connected devices in 2026

** A Quantum Random Number Generator is a device that constantly generates “random numbers,” which creates strong keys that are not biased and cannot be predicted.

*** Quantum Key Distribution is a core technology of quantum cryptography communications that generates quantum keys that can be safely shared between two communicating users  

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