SEOUL / NEW YORK – US and South Korean telecom companies have launched a bitter battle as each party claims to have launched the world's first fifth generation wireless commercial network.
Verizon has accused the three major South Korean carriers – SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus – of a "public relations cascade" after announcing a celebratory celebrity launch scheduled on Friday in order to win the title.
The three operators announced Thursday morning that some of the country's best-known stars, including an Olympic figure skater and K-pop singers, had used Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S10 5G smartphones on Wednesday night.
Their announcement came just hours after Verizon revealed that it had launched its own service a week later to activate its 5G service in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis. His service was available via the Motorola Z3 handset associated with his 5G modem.
The result may still be too close to be called. The Verizon announcement was made at 11 am ET, while SK announced to have put its service into service at 10 am ET.
"We decided to launch the 5G two days earlier to inform the world that Korea was the first in the world," SK Telecom said in a statement. The company said it had no reason to wait until Friday because everything was available.
However, it has been actively supported by the South Korean government, for whom 5G is a national priority. The government told Nikkei Asian Review that it had authorized the early launch.
"We have proved once again that our country was the world's number one information telecommunications company thanks to the world's first commercialization of 5G, to which the private sector and the government have collaborated," said the minister. Science and ICT, You Young-min, in a statement. first global marketing of 5G. We will mobilize all the capabilities of our country to become the first 5G country. "
Earning the first world title gives countries and businesses an edge, said James Kim, research fellow at the Asian Institute of Political Studies.
"Verizon raised the issue first because it was a good brand marketing to have the title in terms of earnings and stock prices," said Kim. Samsung Electronics, a 5G smartphone maker and 5G network equipment provider, also wanted to win the world title. "Samsung could not ignore who would win the first world title because the market would become a test bed for other markets.The title would also give advantages in the US and other markets."
SK Telecom has called on some of the country's favorite stars to participate in the launch. Among them were Baek-Hyun and Kai of the K-pop EXO boys group and Vancouver gold medalist Olympic figurehead Yuna Kim. "We are excited to meet more fans with SK Telecom's 5G VR services," said Baek-Hyun and Kai.
Yuna Kim said that this faster network would help to teach young people the remote figure through virtual reality and augmented reality services. "I like this service because I can train young student figures with an individual lesson in VR / RA," Kim said.
But Verizon was scathing in his rejection of the SK launch. "They gave phones to six celebrities and they are trying to say that this is a network launch ?! It's a stunt of public relations," said Kevin King, director of corporate communications at Verizon. "We launched a network and made 5G devices available to all customers who wish, we had devices in stores in Chicago and Minneapolis, and available for purchase online."