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South Korea launches 5G services in select cities

December 04, 2018

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5G is the fifth generation of cellular technology that will enhance the speed of mobile networks. — File photo
5G is the fifth generation of cellular technology that will enhance the speed of mobile networks. — File photo

South Korea has joined the list of countries that have introduced fifth generation (5G) wireless technology for consumers after providers SK Telecom, LG Uplus and KT launched their 5G service in select cities last week, TechJuice reported.

5G is the fifth generation of cellular technology that will enhance the speed of mobile networks, reducing download time as well as latency, i.e., the time it takes for a network to direct the user to a link or stream a video.

SK Telecom Chief Park Jung-ho expressed his satisfaction over the test results of the company's 5G services after he made three trial video calls to employees in three different cities using a pilot cellphone by Samsung.

"I feel deeply moved by this first video call on a 5G smartphone. It was much clearer than on LTE and the response was quick," Park said. SK Telecom's 5G service covers 13 cities.

The company also tested the service using an Artificial Intelligence machine by sending 24 high-definition photos from a production line to a cloud server. Additionally, SK Telecom tested its 5G on self-driving cars in two different cities that were connected to the company's control tower.

KT, arguably South Korea's largest telecom company, launched its 5G service by testing it on Lota, a guide robot of the 123-floor Lotte World Tower in South Korea's Jasmil city.

The reason behind testing it on a guide robot, the company said, was to "highlight that 5G doesn't just mean a replacement of the mobile network".

"5G robot Lota will be a platform that innovates our daily lives and industries altogether," an official added.

So far, KT has launched the 5G service in six other South Korean cities, and plans to expand its coverage to 24 cities. The coverage is expected to include subway and bullet train stations as well.

LG Uplus tested its 5G service on LS Mtron, a tractor manufacturer. The telecom company aims to develop a remote-controlled tractor that would be connected through 5G. LG Uplus used Huawei's equipment for the test.

United States, China and Japan are other countries that have tested 5G technology so far.