Korean carrier KT Corp has officially launched commercial 5G services in the Asian nation, the telco said in a statement.
KT Corp claimed to be the first service provider in the country to offer unlimited data plans without a speed cap, allowing subscribes to have access to wireless services, including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), high-definition movies and cloud-based games.
The nationwide service covers the country’s most populated areas, including the capital Seoul and its surrounding metropolitan area, six other metropolitan cities, most of all 85 major cities, 70 large shopping malls and discount stores and 464 college campuses.
KT’s commercial 5G network also cover the country’s key transportation routes, including two major highways, six airports, and the ground section of high-speed railways. The company plans to expand the coverage to subways and key sites such as public offices and university hospitals.
KT operates mobile edge computing (MEC) telecom centers in eight major cities in order to support the provision of 5G services.
KT also said it is currently working with Ericsson to procure 3GPP standards-based 5G New Radio (NR) hardware and software for its 3.5 GHz non-standalone (NSA) network.
Earlier this month, rival carrier SK Telecom launched commercial 5G services. SK Telecom said that nationwide coverage is being offered through a total of 34,000 5G base stations in 85 cities.
The company has rolled out its 5G network in data traffic-concentrated areas, including university districts, sports stadiums, highways, subway lines (Seoul and Seoul Metropolitan Area) and beaches.
The telco also said that it is expanding in-building coverage in 120 department stores, shopping malls and airports throughout the country.
SK’s 5G network supports up to 2.7 Gbps data transmission speed and uses quantum cryptography technologies to eliminate the risk of hacking.
In the second half of 2019, SK Telecom aims to expand its 5G network coverage to nationwide subways, national parks and festival sites.
The operator expects to attract approximately 1 million 5G customers by the end of this year. It has a total of 27 million users.
The three Korean carriers launched limited 5G commercial services in December 2018 as part of an agreement with the ICT ministry to launch simultaneously to avoid excessive competition. The three mobile carriers initially launched the 5G service in limited areas in Seoul
In June 2018, South Korea completed a tender process through which it awarded spectrum in both the 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz bands. The government made available a total of 280 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz spectrum band and 2,400 megahertz in the 28 GHz band.