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S. Korea to delay 5G commercialization: ICT ministry

All News 16:00 March 07, 2019

SEOUL, March 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is expected to delay the scheduled commercialization of the world's first fifth-generation (5G) mobile network service, the government here said Thursday.

The Ministry of Science and ICT had pushed for an ambitious plan to launch the ultra fast telecommunication services later this month. Current 4G LTE devices do not support 5G, which means mobile carriers need to build new infrastructure and smartphone makers need to manufacture smartphones that can capitalize on the new service.

"Commercialization of 5G is possible when various factors such as network, smartphones and service are ready," the ministry said in a press release, without commenting on the exact date of the launch.

Industry sources forecast that premium 5G smartphones will hit the market as early as next month, a few weeks later than previously expected. They said various problems, such as with parts supply and test runs, took more time than anticipated.

The ministry said it is working closely with mobile carriers and smartphone makers such as Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. to fix the launch date.

Samsung Electronics is expected to release its 5G version of the Galaxy S10 in April, the sources said.

The tech giant unveiled its latest flagship smartphone and the 5G variant during its Unpacked events held simultaneously in San Francisco and London last month.

Meanwhile, it is virtually impossible for LG Electronics to sell the V50 ThinQ, which supports 5G networks, this month due to a delay in acquiring Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 855 chipset, they said.

LG Electronics introduced its first 5G smartphone, boasting a detachable secondary screen, at MWC Barcelona last month.

S. Korea to delay 5G commercialization: ICT ministry - 1


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