SK Telecom buys $65M stake in Swiss quantum cryptography company
Mon 26 Feb 2018
SK Telecom has announced that it will invest $65 million (approx. £46.5 million) in ID Quantique (IDQ), a leading quantum crypto company based in Switzerland.
In exchange, SK Telecom will receive 50% majority shares in IDQ. This investment bolsters 5G network security for SK Telecom, as well as expanding the company’s global portfolio in quantum cryptography technology.
Quantum cryptography is believed to be one of the most secure methods of encryption conceived to date, as messages that are quantum-encrypted are impossible to intercept in transmission, and can only be viewed by the intended recipient.
SK Telecom established a quantum technology laboratory in 2011, and last year, in partnership with IDQ, developed the world’s smallest Quantum Random Number Generator. QRNG technology is vital to the future of encryption, and the SK Telecom device is small, portable, and inexpensive, making it usable in smartphones, self-driving cars, drones, and IoT devices.
SK Telecom CEO Park Jung-Ho noted the connection between 5G adoption and the growing need for secure communications between devices. “In the 5G era where everything in the real world is connected wirelessly, the issue of safety will continue to rise,” he said. “We will continue our utmost efforts to provide our customers with the world’s safest 5G technology.”
IDQ created the world’s first Quantum Random Number Generator in 2002 and worked with SK Telecom to create a portable, inexpensive version for enterprise applications in 2017. The company also created the first commercial Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) system, and has established partnerships with telecommunications and governmental agencies worldwide. IDQ and SK Telecom intend to continue to explore quantum technologies with future R&D in Quantum Sensing.
Dr Gregoire Ribordy, CEO and co-founder of IDQ, said that while advances in quantum computing will make much of our current cryptography efforts vulnerable, quantum communications technologies will play a significant role in advancing cryptography in backbone networks and in devices at the edge. He said, “Partnering with SK Telecom will allow us to accelerate development of leading-edge solutions to meet these market needs.”
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