The CEOs of Korea Telecom (KT) and Verizon participated in a “first” live international video call using a pre-commercial 5G network and prototype 5G tablets developed by electronics manufacturer Samsung.
During the trial Verizon chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam (pictured, left) participated in an international call from Minneapolis, US, to Seoul, South Korea, with KT counterpart, chairman and CEO Chang-Gyu Hwang (pictured, right).
The call was made during the NFL Superbowl event (held in Minneapolis on 4 Feburary) and served as “an example of how use of commercial 5G mobile devices and connectivity is growing closer to reality”, the companies said in a joint statement.
All three companies have collaborated closely on 5G research and development since 2015, with participation in Verizon’s 5G Technical Forum and KT’s Pyeongchang 5G Special Interest Group.
Samsung said it enabled the demonstration between the two operators by supplying network infrastructure composed of 28GHz 5G access units, 5G home routers, virtualised RAN and core network, as well as the prototype 5G devices.
Hong-Beom Jeon, EVP and head of infra laboratory at KT added: “The fact that 5G is no longer a dream owes its debt to the collaborations we have carried out with operators like Verizon and vendors like Samsung. Our efforts have enabled some of the most demanding tasks to come to fruition.”
News of the 5G trial comes as KT prepares to further showcase its 5G capabilities at the Winter Olympics, which commence on 9 February in Pyeonchang. The company will again work with Samsung, as well as Intel, to offer audiences tablet devices which use 5G network services to enhance viewing experiences.
Other trials of the technology are also scheduled to take place during the event, showcasing preliminary 5G technologies designed to deliver enhanced spectator experiences including 360 degree VR views from the perspective of athletes and tracking participants in cross-country events.
KT is facing competition from SK Telecom to be the first to launch 5G in the country. KT plans to commercialise its 5G network by 2019, while SKT recently set up a 5G taskforce to accelerate its rollout.