Operators in South Korea have been forced to push back their ambitious plans to launch nationwide 5G commercial services for consumers by the end of the month, Yonhap News Agency reported.
The news outlet cited a number of setbacks as hindering SK Telecom, KT and LG UPlus’ target. Handset availability is presumed to be the main factor in the delay, but the government has also rejected proposed 5G pricing plans submitted by operators.
“Commercialisation of 5G is possible when various factors such as network, smartphones and service are ready”, the country’s Ministry of Science and ICT said in a statement.
While it did not commit to an alternative date for consumer service launch, the ministry said it is coordinating with SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus, along with device makers Samsung and LG Electronics on the matter, the news agency reported.
Last month Samsung announced its first 5G smartphone, the Galaxy S10, but didn’t reveal details on when it would be sold in Korea. LG unveiled its first 5G model, the V50 ThinQ, during MWC19 Barcelona, but Yonhap said the vendor is struggling to secure adequate supplies of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chipset.
When it unveiled the silicon in December 2018, Qualcomm said it was expected to ship in commercial devices during H1 2019.
The country’s three major mobile operators simultaneously turned on their 5G networks at midnight on 1 December, launching what they claimed were the world’s first commercial 5G services based on 3GPP standards.
But the services had limited coverage and were only available for businesses using mobile routers, with the operators planning to target consumers with nationwide coverage this month as 5G handsets became available.
In July 2018 the ministry pushed for the operators to collaborate to “avoid excessive competition” and ensure the country is the first to launch the next-generation technology. Since then, they have worked towards a joint commercial 5G launch.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back