Korea Telecom to launch 5G service in March 2019 with what endpoints?

Korea Telecom (KT) announced today that it plans to offer 5G cellular service in March 2019, according to Yonhap and other news sources.

“It is true 5G only when coverage is guaranteed,” Oh Seong-mok, president of KT’s network business division, told reporters in Seoul.  “KT will launch the 5G service for the first time in the world that combines true mobility, excellent service and nationwide coverage,” the KT executive added.

During this year’s PyeongChang Winter Olympics, KT offered a trial service of its 5G service for the first time in the world, allowing athletes and visitors to experience data transmission speeds 40-50 times faster than LTE.

Industry watchers said that at present, it is virtually impossible to set up a 5G nationwide network on par with existing LTE coverage, so full-fledged services will invariably be offered in major metropolitan areas first.  Customers may not be able to immediately use KT’s 5G service next year because major makers of smartphones and silicon, including Samsung Electronics Co. and Qualcomm Technologies Inc., will only start shipping smart phones and 5G chip sets between the end of this year and the first half of 2019, KT said.  Of course, those smart phones and silicon in them will not be compliant with the IMT 2020 standard which won’t be completed till late 2020.

Oh Seong-mok, president of KT’s network business, speaks at a press conference at the firm’s Gwanghwamun building in downtown Seoul, Thursday, stressing the firm will launch commercial 5G network services early next year based on its successful provision of the 5G trial service at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. / Courtesy of KT

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KT said it has no plans to commercialize its 5G network based on Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) currently being championed by U.S. mobile carrier Verizon which plans to provide fixed 5G with an FWA system in the first half of this year.  Mr. Oh said commercializing the 5G service based on FWA is a step backward as the technology has already been seen before.  That comment comes after KT collaborated with Verizon on 5G video calling tests during last month’s Super Bowl, illustrating the fierce international competition to bring 5G to market first.

References:

http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2018/03/22/0200000000AEN20180322007500320.html

https://asia.nikkei.com/Tech-Science/Tech/South-Korea-s-KT-to-launch-5G-service-for-businesses-next-March

https://venturebeat.com/2018/03/22/korea-telecom-to-launch-5g-in-march-2019-calls-verizons-earlier-5g-backwards/

http://koreabizwire.com/kt-aims-5g-commercial-launch-in-march-2019/114895

https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/tech/2018/03/133_246024.html

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