S. Korea launches 5G smartphone networks ahead of schedule

South Korea first to roll out 5G services, beating U.S. and China

South Korea's top telecom companies said on Thursday that they started 5G services nationally on Wednesday two days before the scheduled date.

They provided the service to selected users, including famous artists, sportsmen and television presenters.

SK Telecom and two smaller carriers had planned to initially launch 5G in South Korea on Friday with Samsung Electronics' new 5G-enabled smartphone Galaxy S10.

SK Telecom spokeswoman Irene Kim told Reuters the company had internal discussions and chose to launch the 5G service early as the company had networks and customers ready.

The technology can offer 20-times faster data speeds than 4G long-term evolution (LTE) networks and better support for artificial intelligence and virtual reality with low latency.

World estimates predict that 5G service will generate incomes by 2035 $3.5 billion Dollars and 22 million jobs worldwide.

The network is expected to rake in some $565 billion in global economic benefits, according to London-based Global System for Mobile Communications, an industry alliance.

"It was more important to lead the 5G standard and preempt the market in the commercialization process", Yoo said in a separate Facebook status. Hyper-wired South Korea's networks advanced their launch by two hours in order to take a leap ahead of the United States network carrier.

Participants wear VR devices for an audio-visual experience during a media showcase for 5G service of SK Telecom in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, April 3, 2019.

But the implications of the new technology have pitted Washington against Beijing in an increasingly bitter standoff.

Galaxy S10 5G will be the world's first commercially available 5G smartphone and it will also launch on Verizon's 5G network.

Verizon is offering unlimited 5G data for an additional price of $10 per month to post-paid customers with any Verizon unlimited plan. The US carrier lacks actual 5G phones and can only offer the high-speed services to customers with a Motorola Z3 handset who pay $50 extra for a Snap-on module.

The S10 5G's screen is great for videos and games and the phone packs readily available 5G networks.

"Verizon customers will be the first in the world to have the power of 5G in their hands", said Hans Vestberg, Verizon's chairman and chief executive officer.

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