South Korea Delays 5G Launch

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South Korean operators have delayed their nationwide 5G launch. Planned for the end of this month, the Yonhap News Agency reported several reasons for the change, including handset availability. The government also rejected proposed 5G pricing plans submitted by the carriers.

The South Korean Ministry of Science and ICT said in a statement that 5G commercialization would be possible when factors such as “network, smartphones and service are ready.” The Ministry said it’s coordinating with SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus, along with device makers Samsung and LG Electronics, according to the news agency. No new deployment date has been announced.

Samsung announced its first 5G smartphone last month, the Galaxy S10, without details about retail availability in South Korea. LG unveiled its first 5G model, the V50 ThinQ, during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Yonhap reported the vendor is trying to secure enough Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipsets. Qualcomm anticipated shipping the chipsets in the first half of 2019.

South Korea’s three major mobile wireless carriers turned on their 5G networks simultaneously in December. The services were limited to businesses using mobile routers. Operators planned to target consumers this month as 5G handsets rolled out. They’ve worked toward a joint 5G debut after being prodded by the Ministry in July 2018, to collaborate and “avoid excessive competition” to ensure the country is the first to deploy 5G.

March 12, 2019      

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