Sci-tech

S. Koreans start to register 5G phones

S. Koreans start to register 5G phones”

South Korea will hold a big government-sponsored ceremony next week to celebrate what it called the launch of its 5G mobile service for the first time in the world ahead of schedule, despite a potential dispute over who is "industry-first".

But speculation that USA mobile carrier Verizon might start its 5G services early forced South Korean providers to hastily organize a late-night launch, Yonhap news agency reported.

SK Telecom and two smaller carriers had planned initially to launch 5G in South Korea today with Samsung Electronics' new Galaxy S10 5G smartphone.

"For the first time ever, customers can access a commercial 5G network with the world's first commercially available 5G-enabled smartphone", Verizon said in a statement.

South Korean Comedian Yang Se-hyun wears a VR device for an audio-visual experience during a media showcase for 5G service of SK Telecom in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, April 3, 2019.

The 5G networks of the three South Korean mobile operators went live at 11 p.m. Wednesday, hours before USA carrier Verizon turned on its 5G network in some areas of Minneapolis and Chicago a week ahead of schedule.

In Japan, 5G is expected to become available in some parts of the country in the summer at the earliest.

SK Telecom spokeswoman Irene Kim told Reuters the company had internal discussions and made a decision to launch the 5G service early as the company had networks and customers ready.

For general customers, the services will be available from Friday - the original launch date - when Samsung Electronics rolls out the Galaxy S10 5G, the world's first available smartphone with the technology built in.

A KT technician checks an antenna for the 5G mobile network service in Seoul.

USA telco AT&T Inc said it was the first to launch a "commercial and standards-based" 5G network in December 2018.

According to experts, communication technology will allow the nearly instantaneous connection in mobile phones, that is, 20 times faster than with the previous generation, so users can download movies in less than one second.

The world's firstfully-fledged 5G mobile networks launches in South Korea on Friday.

The implications of the new network have pitted Washington against Beijing - whose firms dominate 5G technology - in an increasingly bitter standoff. Smaller carrier LG Uplus uses Huawei gear.

But SK Telecom officials said it was likely there will be an open auction for network equipment makers including Huawei if South Korea needs more base stations for higher frequencies.



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