S. Korea launches 5G smartphone networks ahead of schedule

South Korea first to roll out 5G services, beating U.S. and China

Verizon's 5G service also appeared on Wednesday in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis - a week ahead of its scheduled 11 April launch but a little later than the three South Korean carriers, according to Yonhap news agency.

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

On the other hand, sources claim that Verizon has earlier planned to roll out 5G services in Minneapolis and Chicago on April 11.

Verizon customers can access a commercial 5G network on the moto z3 combined with 5G moto mod, a 5G-enabled smartphone from Lenovo-owned Motorola. Indeed, SK Telecom held a "5G Launching Showcase" on Wednesday and unveiled pricing plans and details of video and VR services.

Along with the US, China and Japan, South Korea had been racing to claim the title as the world's first provider of the ultra-fast network.

The technology can offer data speeds that are 20 times faster than the current 4G long-term evolution or LTE networks and better support for artificial intelligence and virtual reality with low latency. At times, it can even offer 100 times higher data speeds, cited credible sources.

South Korea's telecommunications carriers turned on super-fast 5G mobile internet networks abruptly ahead of schedule in an attempt to ensure the country becomes the first in the world to launch the services.

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But by Wednesday afternoon local time, South Korea's ministry of science and ICT was tipped from a source in the United States that Verizon would be attempting a surprise launch late in the evening, according to local reports.

SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus all announced their first subscribers, who all bought the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G.

Forbes reported that SK Telecom has installed 35,000 5G base stations and this will give significant coverage for Seoul.

Americans did not wait till the availability of 5G smartphones in 2019 and they launched 5G broadband for home customers and 5G on hotspots in 2018.

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

It provides a chance for South Korean companies to show off their know-how and lay the groundwork to set standards and capture sales in a global 5G services market expected to grow to $123 billion by 2025.

LG Electronics Inc plans to release its 5G smartphone in South Korea later this month.

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