Samsung verification to hasten S. Korea’s 5G launch


With Samsung Electronics’ 5G-powered smartphone having acquired an approval for commercial use from a state-run radio verification agency, expectation is high that South Korea is inching closer to soon offering commercial service for the future generation of wireless network.

According to the National Radio Research Agency on Monday, Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G smartphone passed the agency’s signal verification test. The result was posted on the agency’s website with Galaxy S10’s model number, SM-G977N.

Now that the agency has determined that Samsung’s 5G smartphone is suitable for the market, industry watchers said the country’s efforts to offer 5G services before any anyone else in the world will pick up speed.

“It is like finalizing the legal procedure for the country’s first 5G smartphone,” said an official from a local telecom company. “Following a trial test, telecom companies would focus on improving Samsung smartphones compatibility with 5G network.”    

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G smartphone. Samsung Electronics

South Korea and the US are vying to launch “the world’s first” 5G service, with Verizon setting the US launch date at April 11.

According to industry sources here, while the government cannot meet its previous deadline of March for a 5G commercial rollout, it is likely that the mobile service will be publicly available a few days before Verizon’s planned launch date.

But some telecom officials expressed concern that the government has been “so obsessed” with clinching the title of world’s first 5G-powered country that there was not enough time for mobile companies to prepare themselves.

“It is true that we have been under pressure to meet the government’s timeline,” said another official from local telecom companies. “Of course, it would have been much better if we had more time to offer a more robust service.” 

According to industry watchers here, the commercial rollout of 5G network requires three factors to be finalized by phone manufacturers and mobile carriers: distribution of network frequencies; establishment of new networks; and availability of 5G-powered smartphones.

While the government finished auctioning off 5G network spectrums last year, phone makers and mobile carriers have been struggling to meet quality standards for the service.

Some experts even asserted that even if South Korea became the world’s first country to offer 5G service for the general public, its implications would be limited, given the lack of platforms able to capitalize on the hyper-speed network.

“I don’t think we have (yet) seen killer content and lucrative business models for 5G,” said Kim Sung-cheol, a professor from Korea University School of Media and Communication Graduate School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

“Instead of sticking to the title of the world’s first 5G-poweered country, the government should focus on developing content that can boost companies’ productivity and people’s livelihood.”


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