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Samsung and SK Telecom May Have Just Expanded the Quantum Encryption Market by Orders of Magnitude

By IQT News posted 29 May 2020

Lawrence Gasman
Inside Quantum Technology

A couple of years back Inside Quantum Technology annoyed one of our clients by suggesting that quantum secured cell phones would become a large market – much larger than the QKD market which was the big thing at the time. The point was that billions of cell phones are sold every year and if even just the high-end phones shipped with a quantum security chip the market for quantum secure cell phones would soon be measured in the billions of dollars.

For quite some time we have believed that our critic was most probably correct. The work by Nokia of a few years ago seemed to have petered out and when we contacted someone we knew who had worked in this area, he told us that he had moved on to other things.

But maybe we were right all along. A partnership consisting of Samsung and SK Telecom – apparently using technology from ID Quantique – has just announced the world’s first 5G smartphone with a quantum random number generator (QRNG) chipset.  The phone – the Galaxy A Quantum, is actually just a Galaxy A71 phone fitted with a QRNG and this phone will not change the world on its own. But watch the revenues flow if every phone maker comes to market with a QRNG phone.

Good news for ID Quantique – and perhaps other QKD firms too – who would suddenly find they are serving a mass market. We note here that ID Quantique is especially fortunate in its strong supply chain connections to the cellphone industry through its major shareholder SKT. Also, think what a messaging boost the whole quantum technology field will receive if it appears that quantum technology is a consumer technology and not just a very expensive consumer technology for government and giant multinationals.

Random numbers generators are common in security systems, truly random systems are only possible if they are designed around quantum randomness. Until now quantum technology has only been utilized in very large unhackable commercial encryption systems. With SK’s online payment system “SK Pay”, users will be able to set biometric authentication that is encrypted by the quantum chip.

Inside Quantum Technology is already on top of this new technology. We will be discussing it on the QKD panel at our on-line conferences at the beginning of June https://iqtevent.com/. We also plan to bring out a special report on this topic in the next month or so. Meanwhile, the Galaxy A Quantum will go on sale May 22 in South Korea for around $530. This is actually well before we thought such phones would be available in our client-criticized report of a couple of years back.

No word on whether the Samsung quantum phone will launch in other regions, or if other phone makers will follow Samsung’s suite. But billions of dollars are lost to cybercriminals every year. So there is plenty of incentive for quantum-secure mobile phone business to grow rapidly.

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