Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter

SK Telecom CEO Park Jung-ho, left, and participants attend a media showcase for the company's 5G service in Seoul, South Korea, April 3, 2019. SK Telecom will be launching commercial 5G services nationwide on Friday. VOA

South Korea on Friday launches the world’s first nationwide 5G mobile networks, a transformational leap that has superpowers sparring for control of an innovation that could change the day-to-day lives of billions of people.

The fast communications heralded by fifth-generation wireless technology will ultimately underpin everything from toasters to telephones, from electric cars to power grids.

But while Seoul has won the race to be first to provide the user experience, that is only one part of a wider battle that has pitted the United States against China and ensnared giants including Huawei.

Hyper-wired South Korea has long had a reputation for technical prowess, and Seoul has made the 5G rollout a priority as it seeks to stimulate stuttering economic growth.

The system will bring smartphones near-instantaneous connectivity — 20 times faster than existing 4G — allowing users to download entire movies in less than a second.

In the same way that 3G enabled widespread mobile web access and 4G made new applications work ranging from social media to Uber, 5G will herald a new level of connectivity, empowered by speed.

It is crucial for the future development of devices ranging from self-driving vehicles that send data to one another in real time to industrial robots, drones and other elements of the Internet of Things.

That makes it a vital part of the infrastructure of tomorrow, and the 5G standard is expected to bring about $565 billion in global economic benefits by 2034, according to the London-based Global System for Mobile Communications, an industry alliance.

‘1 million devices’

But the implications of the new technology have pitted Washington against Beijing in an increasingly bitter standoff.

The U.S. has pressed its allies and major economies to avoid 5G solutions from Chinese-owned telecom giant Huawei, citing security risks that technological back doors could give Beijing access to 5G-connected utilities and other components.

But Chinese firms dominate 5G technology.

Huawei, the global leader, has registered 1,529 5G patents, according to data analysis firm IPlytics.

Combined with manufacturers ZTE and Oppo, plus the China Academy of Telecommunications Technology, Chinese entities own a total of 3,400 patents, more than a third of the total, according to the research firm.

South Korea comes next, with its companies holding 2,051 patents.

In contrast, U.S. firms have 1,368, IPlytics said, 29 fewer than Finland’s Nokia alone.

All three of South Korea’s mobile operators — KT, SK Telecom and LG UPlus — will go live with their 5G services on Friday.

“5G’s hyperspeed can connect 1 million devices within a 1-square-kilometer zone simultaneously,” KT said in a report.

Neither KT nor SK Telecom uses Huawei technology in its 5G network, but Huawei is a supplier to LG UPlus, the companies told AFP.

On the same day, Samsung Electronics will release the Galaxy S10 5G, the world’s first available smartphone using the technology, and rival phonemaker LG will follow with the V50s two weeks later.

Deployment in US

Until now, no mobile networks have offered nationwide 5G access.

U.S. network carrier Verizon said Wednesday that it had become the first carrier in the world to deploy a 5G network — in Chicago and Minneapolis, with more cities due to follow this year. The system will work with Lenovo’s Moto Z3 smartphone.

“Verizon customers will be the first in the world to have the power of 5G in their hands,” said Hans Vestberg, Verizon’s chairman and chief executive officer. “This is the latest in our string of 5G firsts.”

Cost barrier

More than 3 million South Koreans will switch to 5G by the end of this year, predicted KT Vice President Lee Pil-jae.
Also Read: Indian Consumers Cautious of Data Misuse Through Technological Devices

None of South Korea’s three network operators would say how much they have invested in 5G, but Seoul’s Economy Minister Hong Nam-ki estimated it would be at least $2.6 billion this year alone.

“If 5G is fully implemented,” he said, “it will greatly improve people’s lives.” (VOA)


Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Today marks the 114th birth anniversary of Harivansh Rai Bachchan, a renowned Indian poet. He is popularly known for his poem ‘Madhushala’.

Today marks the 114th birth anniversary of Harivansh Rai Bachchan, a renowned Indian poet. He is popularly known for his poem ‘Madhushala’.

Early life of Harivansh Rai Bachchan

Keep Reading Show less

The new master plan extends from the Ring Road

The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh is setting up industrial corridors along both sides of Lucknow-Faizabad-Gorakhpur four-lane national highway within the 65 km periphery of the Ayodhya Development Authority's (ADA) jurisdiction.

The industry hub, spread over 100 acres, will form part of Ayodhya Master Plan-2031 that is being prepared by the ADA.

According to ADA Vice Chairman Vishal Singh, the master plan is expected to be finalised next month and will be sent for state government's approval.

Follow NewsGram on Facebook to stay updated.

Keep Reading Show less

The weather department has warned of more rains issuing a red alert

The Singara or Beautiful Chennai turned into Venice with roads waterlogged and several homes getting inundated owing to the heavy rains that poured throughout Friday night and Saturday morning.

The rains and the subsequent inundation have put normal lives out of gear in the city.

Follow NewsGram on Instagram to keep yourself updated.

The weather department has warned of more rains issuing a red alert for several districts including Chennai, one of the smart cities.

More than 20 districts in Tamil Nadu experienced continuous rains.

The government has declared a holiday for educational institutions in 23 districts on Saturday.

Several localities in Chennai went under water and subways have been closed for traffic due to flooding.

Traffic has been diverted in several places due to waterlogged roads.

With increased water inflow, the shutters of the Chembarambakkam lake were raised to let out surplus water.

In the districts, several acres of paddy fields went under water damaging the crops.

Keep reading... Show less