SK Telecom (SKT), KT and LG Uplus revealed pricing plans for 5G services due to launch on 5 April, which will be among the first in the world available to consumers on a commercial smartphone.

The launches come around four months after the operators claimed to have launched the world’s first commercial 5G networks based on 3GPP standards, offering a service with limited coverage to businesses through mobile routers.

In early March, the operators pushed back ambitious plans to launch nationwide 5G commercial services for consumers by the end of the month due to a number of setbacks, including handset availability and a government rejection of their pricing proposals.

However, with Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G set to go on sale on 5 April, the operators are ready to take on US operators Verizon and AT&T in the race to be first to launch consumer services on a commercial smartphone.

Verizon began offering a fixed wireless access 5G service in October 2018 and is still preparing its mobile offer, while AT&T deployed a mobile service using a Netgear hotspot device in December.

Korea plans
All three are offering basic tariffs with 8GB or 9GB of data for KRW55,000 ($48.48) a month.

Market leader SKT, with 34,000 5G base stations, is then offering a standard 5GX plan with 150GB of data for KRW75,000. Its prime and platinum packages cost KRW89,000 and KRW125,000 a month for 200GB and 300GB respectively, with unrestricted data rates for customers signing up by end-June.

In a tweet, CCS Insight director of consumer and connectivity Kester Mann noted SKT’s 5G tariffs offer “the same amount of data as LTE” at lower prices, questioning whether this is a “reflection of tough competition or a drive to migrate customers for network efficiency”?

Second-ranked KT has similar offers priced KRW80,000, KRW100,000 and KRW130,000. The standard KRW80,000 plan is less expensive than its unlimited 4G data tariff, Yonhap News Agency reported.

The operator, which has 30,000 5G sites, predicted 5G users will account for more than 10 per cent of its mobile customers by the end 2019, the news agency said.

LG Uplus’ standard 5G plan includes 150GB for KRW75,000, while its premium package offers 250GB for KRW95,000. The premium plan is discounted until the end of June to KRW66,000, which is the same as its unlimited LTE plan.