S. Korea clinches title as world’s first country to roll out 5G phones

2019.04.04 14:05:21 | 2019.04.04 15:22:56

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South Korea claims it has become the first country in the world to commercially launch fifth-generation (5G) services, beating the U.S., China and Japan in the heated race to market the next generation of ultra-fast wireless connections.

All three of Korea’s top mobile carriers went live with their 5G services Wednesday night. The service would be made available to regular customers on Friday.

The country’s largest mobile operator SK Telecom on Thursday delivered Galaxy S10 5G phones to its five brand ambassadors, including Baekyun and Kai from the boy band EXO, Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yuna and e-sports player Lee Sang-hyuk.

The first 5G customer of KT was a spouse of a KT employee. For LG Uplus, it was YouTube celebrity Kim Min-young.

[Photo provided by SK Telecom]이미지 확대

[Photo provided by SK Telecom]

Korea’s rollout comes a few hours ahead of Verizon Communications’ 5G kickoff. The U.S. carrier announced Wednesday (local time) it was launching its 5G network to select areas in Chicago and Minneapolis, a week ahead of schedule.

Tech powers across the globe have been scrambling to roll out the 5G network, with the race to win the title of commencing the world’s first 5G commercial services becoming increasingly intense.

5G technology can offer up to 20 times faster data speed than 4G networks, a major breakthrough that is expected to change the landscape of video streaming and spur the advancement of artificial intelligence and self-driving cars.

By Shin Chan-ok and Kim Hyo-jin

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]