South Korean & United States Launch 5G Networks

5G networks of three South Korean mobile operators went live ahead of schedule at 11PM on Wednesday 3 April 2019, two hours before U.S. carrier Verizon turned on its 5G network in some areas of Minneapolis and Chicago, a week ahead of schedule, in an attempt to ensure that the country becomes the first in the world to launch the services.

Global carriers see being first in 5G as a way to flex their technical prowess.

South Korea’s SK Telecom and two smaller carriers on 3 April had announced launching of commercial 5G services nationwide in South Korea on Friday 5 April 2019 with Samsung Electronics’ new 5G-enabled smartphone Galaxy S10, in line with its competitors: “The world’s first commercial services.” Verizon, one of America’s largest telecommunication companies, had plans to launch its 5G network in two cities on 11 April 2019 but rescheduled the launch after announcement of South Korean operators. Speculation, that Verizon might start its 5G services early, forced South Korean providers to hastily organise a late-night launch.

Disputing South Korea’s first in 5G claim, Telecoms and media company AT&T Inc. of U.S. said that it was the first to launch a “commercial and standards-based” 5G network in 21 December 2018, when service was made available in 12 cities to mobile hotspot devices but not yet on phones, “We launched the first mobile 5G network several months ago and we’ve followed that up with other firsts, including 1 Gig speeds last week with more cities to come soon”, said the AT&T spokesman.

China and Japan are also racing to market 5G.

South Korea is hoping the 5G technology will spark innovation in its tech industries and spur breakthrough in fields such as smart cities and autonomous cars, which will kick-start its sluggish economic growth that slowed to a six-year low in 2018.

5G, the fifth generation wireless technology, which is crucial for future development of devices ranging from self-driving vehicles that send data traffic to one another in real time, industrial robots, drones and other elements of Internet of Things, and is also expected to change the landscape of the gaming industry as it allows games streamed with minimal delay to be played on smartphones. 5G’s hyper speed can connect one million devices within a one square kilometre zone simultaneously.

  • 5G networks can power a wide range of consumer devices, from smartphones, which can stream Netflix videos more quickly to enabling the arrival of self-driving cars through placement of small boxes that serve as conduits for invisible, data-transmitting radio waves.
  • 5G-enabled smartphones are capable of downloading data 20 times faster than existing 4G devices.
  • Sometimes it can offer 100-times faster speeds.
  • It would enable users to download movie files almost instantly.
  • A full length 8GB film can be downloaded in six seconds.
  • Faster networks would also improve live broadcasts and streaming services for music and video while allowing for a broader range of virtual reality services.
  • Potential uses for 5G include simultaneous translation of several languages in a party conference call
  • Self-driving cars can stream movies, music and navigation information from the cloud.
  • 5G is expected to be so quick and efficient it is possible it could start the end of wired connections.
  • Industry estimates claim 50 billion devices will be connected to 5G by the end of 2020.
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