South Korea launched a two-day national 5G coverage with a select handful of subscribers, a hasty activation to secure a world first in the technology race to revolutionize communications.
The three major national operators, KT, SK Telecom and LG UPlus, had planned the launch of the service nationwide for April 5, but announced Thursday that the service had debuted the day before at 11 pm local time.
The new technology provides Internet speeds 20 times higher than 4G, allowing, for example, to download an entire movie in less than a second.
Like 3G, then 4G, the 5G must allow to take a new course in the level of connectivity, especially for objects. The autonomous car is one of the main innovations expected, as well as connected health, smart cities, intelligent urban transport, and everyday safety.
The Global System for Mobile Communications estimates that this technological breakthrough could translate into $ 565 billion in benefits for the global economy by 2034.
South Korea, one of the hottest countries in the world, has long been known for its technical prowess, and Seoul has made 5G a priority to boost its economy.
The race between South Korea and the American Verizon
Along with the United States, China and Japan, the country has made the race to get on the top of the podium for this ultrafast network.
But speculation about Verizon’s anticipated launch of its own 5G services has forced South Korean operators to rush into nighttime, South Korean agency Yonhap reported.
“SK Telecom announces today that it has activated 5G for six celebrities representative of Korea from April 3 at 11 pm,” said Thursday, the first South Korean mobile operator. These stars, including two members of the Korean pop group EXO and figure skating champion Kim Yu-na, are “the world’s first mobile 5G subscribers.”
KT and LG Uplus also reported having activated 5G with a total of three carefully chosen subscribers. KT proposed it to the wife of a technician who works at the installation of the network on the islands of Dokdo, disputed with Japan.
The other South Koreans will have access to 5G Friday, on the date that was planned, at the same time that Samsung Electronics will market its Galaxy S10 5G, the world’s first smartphone operating with this technology. His competitor LG will release his V50s two weeks later.
A war between China and the United States
The system is one of the fields of war of influence that China and the United States are waging. Washington is trying to convince its allies not to entrust the deployment of 5G to Huawei, accusing the Chinese giant of being a Trojan horse in Beijing to spy on Westerners.
Chinese is considered more efficient and more innovative than its competitors. He filed 1529 patents in 5G, according to IPlytics. If we add to Huawei other Chinese groups and institutes, Beijing claims 3400 patents, more than a third of the world total.
South Korea comes second with a total of 2051 patents. US companies are far behind, with only 1368 patents filed, or, for comparison, 29 less than the only Finnish Nokia group.
KT and SK Telecom have told AFP not to use Huawei technology. But the Chinese group is a supplier of LG UPlus network, told AFP the South Korean company.