SK Telecom and Deutsche Telekom Quantum Alliance

SK Telecom and Deutsche Telekom have established “Quantum Alliance” at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to enable secure communication in the age of quantum computing.

Industrial espionage and cyber-attacks by hostile intelligence services are an increasing threat. In turn, in the not-too-distant future, quantum computing may provide such powerful performance that it could crack encryption algorithms that are currently considered secure. This would render today’s common cryptography methods virtually useless and make server access, data links and documents freely accessible and viewable with little effort. Quantum computing, a hot research topic at present, would undermine the foundations of current encryption methods and with them, the security of the entire Internet. But even today, there is a need for tap-proof communication channels for key exchange.

To meet these present and future needs, SK Telecom and Deutsche Telekom founded the Quantum Alliance at the Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona, to ensure that communications remain secure in the age of quantum computing. The Alliance’s primary objective is to ensure that the technical prerequisites for secure communications continue to be met in the future. To do so, network operators and hardware manufacturers must work together to define and implement technical standards. As a second step, the alliance will aim to develop flexible services and security solutions for secure communications.

“Committed to building a quantum-safe future, SK Telecom has been actively developing quantum cryptography technologies since 2011. SK Telecom believes that the co-establishment of the Quantum Alliance with Deutsche Telekom will bring us closer to realizing this goal, while also creating new valuable business opportunities in areas including quantum-safe communications, the Internet of Things and big data. We will work together to accelerate the growth of quantum-based cybersecurity technologies and its ecosystem,” said Cha In-hyok, Executive Vice President and Head of IoT Business Division.

“When it comes to security, we have to think beyond tomorrow. With the Quantum Alliance, we are taking the lead in a technical development that will revolutionize IT: we will help to ensure that communications remain secure even after a breakthrough is made in quantum computing and the first computers hit the market,” said Claudia Nemat, Deutsche Telekom Board member for Technology and Innovation, in Barcelona. Nemat continued, “In SK Telecom, a technology leader in quantum cryptography, we have found the best partner for this challenge.”

SK Telecom and Deutsche Telekom are committed to recruiting more partners for the Quantum Alliance in the coming weeks and months. The companies intend to approach network operators, network equipment makers, device manufacturers and software vendors. “A secure global communications network can only work if all the players agree on the same rules. That’s what we’re pushing right now,” said Claudia Nemat. SK Telecom and Deutsche Telekom will then draw up a specific action plan for how to proceed, together with the new partners.

The Alliance’s medium-term target is to develop, test and establish products that enable secure communications in the age of quantum computing.