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Korea Wins the Race to Launch Commercial 5G Services by a Whisker
Only Two Hours Ahead of the U.S.
Korea Wins the Race to Launch Commercial 5G Services by a Whisker
  • By Kim Eun-jin
  • April 5, 2019, 11:26
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Korea launched the world's first 5G mobile services just two hours ahead of the United States.

Korea could have lost the race to become the first country to commercialize 5G telecommunications in the world. Korea’s three mobile carriers successfully started offering 5G mobile services late night on April 3, just two hours before Verizon of the United States announced the commercialization of 5G services.

The Ministry of Science and ICT held an emergency meeting with Korea’s three mobile carriers and smartphone makers in the afternoon of April 3. The ministry got the information that Verizon would move up the launch of its commercial 5G services to April 4. Previously, Verizon said that it would launch 5G services on Motorola smartphones in Chicago and some parts of Minneapolis on April 11.

Verizon's unexpected move prompted the Ministry of Science and ICT and the three Korean mobile operators to decide to receive the first subscriptions to their 5G smartphone services at 11 p.m., April 3. By doing so, Korea could win race to become the world’s first country to realize commercial 5G services. Verizon launched its commercial 5G services at 1 a.m. on April 4, two hours later than Korea. This means that Korea won by a whisker in the race to launch commercial 5G services with the United States.

Although Korea claims to be the first country to commercialize 5G services, some experts are questioning if there was a proper reason to advance the launch date from April 5. However, Yu Young-min, minister of science and ICT, explained the meaning of becoming the world’s first nation to successfully commercialize 5G services on his Facebook page.

“The government and those in the telecommunication industry including the three mobile carriers and smartphone manufacturers agreed that the launch of commercial 5G services should not be delayed any longer and decided to launch them in a blitz on April 3,” Yu said. “We also thought that we should not make useless painstaking efforts made for more than three years by the government and those in the telecommunication industry to make Korea the first country to commercialize 5G services in the world."