South Korea is planning to roll out the world’s first commercial 5G service in March next year. However, the plan may be thwarted as US and Chinese carriers are pushing to launch 5G service within this year.
On August 13, China Unicom announced a new strategy dubbed 5G NEXT. According to it, the company is going to kick off commercial 5G services by installing 300 base stations in Beijing within this year. Earlier, the company announced that it would launch 5G services in Beijing and other cities, including Tianjin, Qingdao, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Wuhan, Chengdu, Shenzhen and Shenyang.
China Mobile and ZTE, in the meantime, made China’s first 5G call complying with 3GPP R15 in Guangzhou in April this year. China Mobile is planning to test its 5G services in Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Suzhou and Wuhan while installing 100 base stations in each city.
China’s investment in 5G facilities since 2015 exceeds that of the United States by US$24 billion. In addition, China is going to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in 5G technology. According to Deloitte, it will be impossible for the US to catch up with this pace unless it takes rebalancing measures for private-sector investment.
American mobile carriers are trying to take the lead in the 5G race, too. For example, Verizon is aiming to launch commercial 5G services in major US cities within this year.