Samsung Electronics released the Galaxy S10 5G, the world´s first available smartphone with built-in fifth-generation communications technology, as South Korea seeks to build a lead in the transformative system.
The South became the first country to commercially launch nationwide 5G services, with three superfast networks going live offering data speeds that allow users to download entire movies in less than a second.
Hours later US giant Verizon began commercial services in Chicago and Minneapolis, after rival AT&T made a 5G-based system available to selected users in parts of 12 cities in December.
South Korea three mobile carriers SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus held launch events across Seoul for the Galaxy S10, whose base version costs 1.39 million won ($1,200).
Interactive virtual-reality displays and robot demonstrations were on show to tout the capabilities of the latest iteration of mobile internet speed, and new users were excited about the possibilities, especially live streaming of sports games and university lectures.
Another user said he was most excited about virtual reality content — which includes games and even “celebrity VR dating” apps according to the country´s mobile carriers.
With 5G, said researcher Lee Sang-yoon, VR content “can be enjoyed in real time with no delay… I´ll be able to enjoy it in better resolution and speed”.
Commercializing 5G gives South Korea the chance to build around the technology, which is crucial for the future development of devices such as autonomous vehicles and the Internet of Things.
The implications of the new technology have pitted Washington against Beijing — whose firms dominate 5G technology — in an increasingly bitter standoff.