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Korea's SK Telecom buys major stake in ID Quantique

28 Feb 2018

$65 million investment to go towards development of quantum sensing.

SK Telecom, the South Korean telecom giant, is investing $65 million in ID Quantique (IDQ), a developer of quantum safe cryptography and quantum sensing solutions. SK Telecom commented that “the strategic investment plan will strengthen ID Quantique’s position as a leader in this field and support development of IDQ’s quantum technologies for the telecom and IoT markets”.

In today’s hyper-connected 5G era, in which some 43 billion devices worldwide, based on data by market research firm Gartner about expected number of connected devices in 2026, are connected through wireless networks, the importance of cybersecurity in mobile communications will rise exponentially, says SK.

Against this backdrop, quantum cryptography has emerged as an essential solution for safeguarding critical information. The technology encrypts transmitted data using special quantum keys, which, according to the laws of quantum physics, are impossible to intercept or steal.

According to San Francisco-based Market Research Media, the global quantum cryptography communications will grow into a $ 24.75 billion industry by 2025. Macrotrends such as 5G and IoT are set to be drivers for IDQ’s quantum-safe and quantum sensing solutions.

SK Telecom has had a long-term relationship with IDQ: in 2016 SK invested $ 2 million in IDQ and in 2017 it developed the world’s smallest (5x5mm) Quantum Random Number Generator based on technology and know-how licensed from IDQ.

Park Jung-Ho, CEO and President of SK Telecom, and Grégoire Ribordy, co-founder and CEO of ID Quantique, at the signing ceremony for strategic investment plan. 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. As part of the transaction, SK Telecom’s quantum laboratory will become part of IDQ.

“In the 5G era where everything in the real world is connected wirelessly, the issue of safety will continue to rise,” commented Park. “We will continue our utmost efforts to provide our customers with the world’s safest 5G technology.”

’Secure communications’
“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.

”We are proud to work closely with SK Telecom. Partnering with them will allow us to accelerate development of leading-edge solutions to meet these market needs. Together we can enter new geographic and vertical markets and meet the increasing demands for security.”

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.

ID Quantique’s Bristol office expands
Since being founded in 2001 in Geneva, Switzerland, IDQ has been an innovator in quantum technology with a focus on quantum-safe security solutions, single-photon systems and quantum random number generators.

The past three years have seen the company grow quickly – with sales revenue tripling, the workforce doubling and the creation of a Joint Venture in China. The company has now announced that growth will continue with the opening of a new office in Bristol, UK.

Home to over 35,000 digital jobs and with a blend of seasoned businesses and innovative startups, Bristol has been a focal point for the technology industry for many years. It’s also home to the University of Bristol, an organisation that IDQ has worked closely with in the development of LIDAR.

From the Bristol location, IDQ will continue our work as part of the UK Quantum Communications Hub partnership – focusing on the development of quantum communications for real world applications.

IDQ has further announced that the company has three important vacancies available to complete the UK team: a Software Engineer, an FPGA Firmware Engineer and an Experimental Physicist.

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