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13 April


Can Korea beat the U.S. in the "5G-race"?

Korea have some problems with deadline

Photo: Yonhap

/NOVOSTIVL/ With news of US mobile carrier Verizon possibly beating South Korean players in launching the world’s very first 5G mobile service next month, speculations have run amok over whether local telecom companies will hasten their releases despite regulatory and technical hurdles. This article appeared in The Korea Herald.

In a statement released Wednesday, Verizon said it would start offering 5G service in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis on April 11. The company said the service will cost consumers $10 a month more than previous generation’s 4G service.

The decision immediately flustered the related industry here that has been hyping up its prescient title as the world’s first operator of the next-generation wireless network. It also further discouraged 5G excitement here already dampened by the delayed March deadline due partly to ongoing discussions on rates.

Samsung Electronics is reported to have been planning to deliver its 5G-powered smartphone to the country’s biggest mobile carrier by April 5. If Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G passes trials for SK Telecom, the phone will become publicly available.

While SKT declined to reveal specific plans for its commercial rollout, industry watchers said the commercialization would proceed promptly once the telecom settles on a pricing plan for 5G-powered smartphones.

As the country’s largest mobile carrier, SKT is the only carrier that must seek the government’s permission before announcing a pricing plan. Earlier this month, the government rejected SKT’s original pricing plan, saying it was too expensive and could restrict consumer choice.

"As long as we receive physical 5G smartphones, it won’t take long for us to come up with corresponding pricing plan," said an official from a local telecom company. "Ergo, all eyes are on SKT."

Korea’s plan to offer the world’s first 5G commercial service has been in doubt since the government’s postponement announcement.