South Korea's 5G goes live earlier than scheduled to claim 'world's first' title

5G networks are now live in South Korea.

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South Korea announced that its 5G network went live late on Wednesday, with local telcos receiving their first set of 5G subscribers.

SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus all announced their first subscribers, who all bought the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G. 

The Ministry of Science and ICT said South Korea's 5G networks went live at 11pm local time, which claimed the title of being the "world's first" set of commercialised 5G networks.   

The country initially planned to commercialise the next-generation wireless network on Friday, but jumped the gun largely in reaction to the move by the United States' Verizon to move up its 5G launch date.

Verizon announced its commercialisation of 5G would launch on April 3 as well, but it occurred two hours after South Korea's roll out.

Access to 5G for both countries, however, will be limited for most consumers as coverage areas remain narrow and 5G devices possess high price tags.

South Korea has coveted the "world's first" title since it first started preparing for 5G. It announced last year that it would roll the network out by March, but the roll out was pushed to April instead due to a lack of readiness from industry players.

Domestic telcos also agreed to roll out their networks at the same time to avoid "unnecessary competition". 

Competition among telcos for new subscribers has still been fierce however. Earlier this week, KT announced unlimited data plans for 5G with no speed caps in an attempt to overwhelm its rivals SK Telecom and LG Uplus. Shortly after, SK Telecom responded by announcing its own plans with unlimited data and no speed caps.

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