South Korean Mobile Operators to Launch 5G Simultaneously on Korea 5G Day

South Korea is said to be just behind China in the race to be first to deploy 5G service at scale.  South Korean mobile operators have now all agreed to launch 5G services on the same day in order to avoid excessive competition.

SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus will all launch services on “Korea 5G Day,” which they expect to hold some time around March next year, the Korea JoongAng Daily reported.

The arrangement was fostered by the nation’s Ministry of Science and ICT during a meeting on Tuesday, July 17th. Minister You Young-min asked the operators to co-operate closely to ensure that Korea is the world’s first country to commercialize 5G, and to avoid excessive competition. At the meeting, representatives of the operators urged the government to introduce measures to help operators cope with the major investments required to deploy 5G networks and support the introduction of future technologies such as automated vehicles. Other suggestions included tax benefits for 5G investments, the newspaper report states.

From left, LG U+ CEO and Vice Chairman Ha Hyun-hwoi, KT CEO Hwang Chang-gyu, Minister of Science and ICT You Young-min and SK Telecom CEO Park Jung-ho meet in Yeouido, western Seoul, on Tuesday. [MINISTRY OF SCIENCE AND ICT]

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Minister You added that the government’s push toward lowering household phone bills will hold even in the 5G era and asked carriers to come up with wise phone plan options.

During the meeting, KT CEO Hwang Chang-gyu said 5G commercialization calls for big investments as the network will be used to support many business-to-business services, unlike the current 4G network that was used mostly to support services targeting consumers. The 5G networks are expected to be the backbone of future businesses like self-driving cars and Internet of Things technology, where network stability is crucial to guaranteeing safety and security.

“The government should help ease some difficulties faced by the telecommunications industry and support investment in 5G,” Hwang added.

According to the Science Ministry, Hwang asked for tax benefits when setting up 5G network infrastructure to ease the burden on companies and the minister said he will consider the possible options.

SK Telecom CEO Park Jung-ho said the company is researching what changes 5G could bring to the world and added that he is particularly interested in 5G’s possible impact on the media industry.

LG U+ CEO Ha Hyun-hwoi, on his first full day on the job, showed up for the meeting. Though former CEO Kwon Young-soo was originally scheduled to take part, Ha said he decided to participate considering the importance of 5G business and to listen to the policy directions of the Science Ministry regarding the network.

One thought on “South Korean Mobile Operators to Launch 5G Simultaneously on Korea 5G Day

  1. SK Telecom’s 5G gaming festival starts today – 10 August 2018; Korea JoongAng Daily

    SK Telecom’s three-day festival dedicated to 5G networks’ impact on gaming kicks off today at Kintex in Goyang, Gyeonggi.

    The 5GX Game Festival comes as Korea’s mobile carriers, including SK Telecom, plan to launch their 5G networks next year.

    “We hope customers can feel the value of 5G networks through the 5GX Game Festival,” said Yoon Yong-cheol, head of the communications center at SK Telecom. “We will continue presenting the future created by 5G.”

    At SK’s Oksusu social VR experience zone, visitors can wear virtual reality headsets offered on site and enter a virtual space to view e-sports together with their friends. Oksusu is SK Telecom’s video streaming app, and the carrier is set to add a social community feature to the app by the end of this year so that users from around the world can socialize in a virtual space.

    Visitors can play games as well as watch them. Wearing a VR headset and walking on a 360-degree treadmill invented specifically for VR gaming, visitors can enjoy the Ready Player One VR game, staging a battle in a virtual space, getting attacked by zombies and doing a parachute jump to invade enemy territory. Visitors may also play popular games such as League of Legends, Battleground and FIFA on wireless 5G networks so they can feel the ultra-high speed and low latency of the new network.

    The festival will connect an open e-sport competition site with an exhibition hall, both inside the festival venue, so that viewers can feel the atmosphere of the competition live. The exhibition hall will be equipped with VR devices and 5G tablet PCs.

    BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]

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