Telecommunications giant Samsung Electronics on Friday launched the Galaxy S10 5G, the world’s first smartphone available with built-in fifth-generation communications, as South Korea seeks to build an edge on transformative technology.
On Wednesday, the South became the first country to launch 5G services nationwide, with three ultra-fast networks up and running offering data speeds that allow users to download full movies in less than a second.
Hours later, US giant Verizon began offering commercial services in Chicago and Minneapolis, after rival AT&T made a 5G-based system available to selected users in parts of 12 cities in December.
The three South Korean mobile operators SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus held launch events in Seoul for the Galaxy S10 5G, the base version of which costs 1.39 million won ($ 1,200).
Interactive virtual reality demos and robot demos were shown to promote the capabilities of the latest version of mobile internet speed, and new users were excited about the possibilities, especially live streaming of sports games and college lectures.
“I watch a lot of videos often, movies and lectures,” said buyer Shim Ji-hye, 38. “I hope the higher speeds help me manage my time better.”
Another user said he was most excited about virtual reality content, which includes games and even “celebrity dating VR” apps according to the country’s mobile phone operators.
With 5G, said researcher Lee Sang-yoon, VR content “can be enjoyed in real time without delay … I will be able to enjoy it in better resolution and speed.”
By Friday afternoon, 15,000 buyers had subscribed to the LG UPlus 5G service and more than 10,000 to the KT offering, the operators said.
SK Telecom, the market leader, could not immediately get figures.
Internet of Things
Before the Samsung phone rollout on Friday, 5G service had been restricted to a handful of specially selected users in South Korea.
Rival maker LG will launch its V50 ThinQ phone, another 5G phone, in the south later this month, while in the US, Verizon’s network is powered by Lenovo’s Moto Z3 smartphone equipped with a special accessory.
The commercialization of 5G gives South Korea an opportunity to develop the technology, which is crucial for the future development of devices such as autonomous vehicles and the Internet of Things.
It 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.
The implications of the new technology have pitted Washington against Beijing, whose companies dominate 5G technology, in an increasingly bitter showdown.
The US has lobbied its allies and major economies to avoid 5G solutions from Chinese-owned telecoms giant Huawei, citing security risks that tech back doors could give Beijing access to 5G-connected public services and other components.
Chinese entities hold a total of 3,400 5G patents, more than a third of the total, according to data analytics firm IPlytics, with 1,529 of those registered by Huawei.
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