South Korea’s SK Telecom Declares It Will Be First 5G Network Provider In The World
In terms of speed of web connection, South Korea clearly has it easy -- the Asian country, which is home to some of the world’s most recognizable tech companies such as Samsung and LG, is currently considered the region with the fastest Internet speeds. Will this nation also be the first to enjoy a real, functioning 5G network?
It is quite possible. SK Telecom, the biggest wireless carrier in South Korea, has made no qualms about proclaiming recently that it will be the the first mobile operator in the whole wide world to offer a 5G network. According to The Korea Herald, SK Telecom has just opened the doors of its 5G Playground, a state of the art facility that aims to research, develop, and ultimately launch real life, working 5G technology.
All mobile users in the planet may have already been familiar with 4G LTE, or at least in theory, considering that in some parts of the world, certain regions are still making use of 2G networks. 4G’s speed is already awesome by any measure, but 5G is expected to take connectivity to the next level.
SK Telecom has reportedly demonstrated connection speeds of up to 19.1 gigabits per second. For context, that speed is almost a thousand times faster than the 25 megabits per second being enjoyed by most South Korean mobile users courtesy of their 4G LTE mobile coverage. 5G’s 19.1 gigabits per second would virtually allow people to download a 2 gigabyte movie in just a matter of milliseconds.
As explained by Choi Jin-sung, chief technical officer of SK Telecom, during the opening of the wireless carrier’s 5G Playground, the company’s focus is on getting a 5G network available for mobile users as soon as humanly possible. And it is certainly getting some help in achieving that goal. The opening of the 5G Playground facility was launched in conjunction with tech powerhouses such as Samsung, Nokia, Intel, Ericsson, and Rhode & Schwartz. The South Korean wireless carrier is looking to launch its 5G service by 2017, which is years ahead of the general estimate by various industry watchers, which is at 2020.
Of course, SK Telecom is not the only participating in the race to offer the world’s first 5G service. Verizon Wireless, the number one wireless carrier in the United States, has already announced that it is planning to start testing its 5G network beginning next year, and just might start launching in 2017, similar to SK Telecom’s target year. Telstra, a wireless carrier based in Australia, is targeting a commercially available 5G network by 2020.