KT plans to launch 5G next March

26 Mar 2018

South Korea's KT has announced plans to commence commercial 5G operations in March next year following its successful trial service during this year's PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

The operator plans to be one of the first operators in the world to commercially launch 5G mobile services starting next year, Yonhap News reported.

KT's ultimate goal is to build a nationwide 5G infrastructure to guarantee coverage for subscribers, the report states.

The report notes that subscribers may not be able to immediately take advantage of 5G speeds as the first smartphones to support the new standard may not launch until late in the first half of next year.

KT has meanwhile ruled out launching fixed wireless access services based on 5G for now. US operator Verizon plans to roll out 5G FWA in three to five cities later this year. Rival AT&T has meanwhile announced plans to launch mobile 5G in a dozen cities later this year, which would mean beating KT to market.

During the Winter Olympics, KT's trial 5G service allowed athletes and visitors to PyeongChang to experience 5G-dependent services including time slice video streaming, as well as 360-degree VR video.

The trial equipment deployed for the games is aligned with the first 5G new radio specifications ratified by the 3GPP in December last year, so KT should be able to incorporate it into its 5G rollout.

But despite KT's move to be the first out of the blocks with 5G in South Korea, the head of the operator's 5G unit Lee Yong-gyoo stated during Mobile World Congress last month that the company does not plan to commit to large-scale investment in 5G just yet as it is not currently clear what the 5G business case is.

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