With the first commercial 5G service in South Korea scheduled for March next year, multiple companies such as smartphone manufacturers, parts suppliers and telecom service providers are competing in advertising their products and services as the “world’s first."
For example, Samsung Electronics used the phrase in releasing the Exynos 5100 modem on August 15. The world’s first 5G modem was not developed by Samsung Electronics, but it is Samsung Electronics that developed the world’s first 5G modem complying with the latest 3GPP standards.
The new modem is likely to be incorporated into the company’s smartphones to be rolled out in March 2019 and later. It is Qualcomm and MediaTek that are currently dominating the market. Samsung Electronics is planning to improve its profitability and market share by means of vertical integration of key parts ranging from displays and application processors to modems.
Qualcomm developed its 5G modem, Snapdragon X50, two years ago. Last month, the company announced that it developed the world’s first 5G module. Intel unveiled XMM8060, a commercial 5G modem chip, late last month.
In the smartphone market, Samsung Electronics is working on a 5G handset with mobile carriers. LG Electronics supplies 5G phones to Sprint until the first half of next year. Sprint is the fourth-largest mobile carrier in North America and is working on a merger with T-Mobile, the third-largest. Once they are merged, the new company’s share in the U.S. market rises to 29% in terms of the number of subscribers.
According to industry insiders, the advertising battles for the “First” titles among terminal and equipment suppliers and mobile carriers are likely to continue for a while as new technical standards follow one after another. 5G standardization is likely to be completed in October 2020.