South Korea has been ahead of most of the world in areas of technology. That said, telecom providers in South Korea have been offering 5G wireless networks since 2018. But, they do have a slightly similar problem as other providers around the world — there are only select consumers that have access to it, again, because 5G networks generally have a weaker signal. That requires telecom providers to light up cities with hundreds of “sites” around the city.
That said, 5G is already in South Korea, but only in select areas around major cities. Not sure where it is? Follow along below, and we’ll show you where you can currently get 5G in South Korea, as well as what further rollout plans look like.
5G in South Korea
Three carriers in South Korea are working on lighting up the country with fast fifth generation networks. These three are SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus. They launched 5G wireless networks to select customers on December 1, 2018. Again, because of the nature of fifth-gen networks, there were just very few people that could hook up to it.
SK Telecom started testing 5G communications in 2017, running a handful of test trials during the year. After successful trials, SK Telecom built out 5G technology in their autonomous driving city called K-City, which was another successful rollout. In 2018 and beyond, they’ve done some other amazing things, such as getting two cars to communicate with each other over 5G and even doing a successful live broadcast over 5G.
With the introduction of 5G cell service, SK Telecom is putting its 2G networks to rest. So, if you’re using an old phone on a 2G network, it’s time to put that to rest.
In April 2019, SK Telecom opened up its 5G wireless networks for consumer use. Data plans for 5G range anywhere from $48 to $110 per month on SK Telecom.
LG Uplus has a relatively limited release of 5G currently. They have installed over 7,000 base stations in 2018, and more infrastructure afterward. That said, 5G coverage is available in areas of Seoul and other major locations, but LG Uplus plans to provide more 5G infrastructure throughout 2019 and well into 2020. So, it shouldn’t be long before the company starts offering a much wider network.
KT is another telecom provider in South Korea that is bringing 5G to the country. They first launched at the Lotte World Tower in Seoul but wants to bring 5G coverage to 80 cities before 2020. That’s not full, city-wide coverage — they’re looking at just small areas where 5G coverage.
KT is doing a lot more for 5G research as well — they have committed to a $20 billion investment through 2023 to find out how to best utilize 5G technology.
Carriers have pockets of coverage through most major cities. The South Korean government has a roadmap for when they’re hoping 5G should be covering most of the country. The South Korean government’s Ministry of Science and ICT arm is aiming for 30 percent of the country’s mobile users to have access to a 5G wireless network. By 2026, 90 percent coverage is hoped for.
As you can see, there are at least three major telecom providers that are working on bringing 5G wireless networks to South Korea. South Korea is usually on the cutting edge of technology, and they’ve been deep in research since 2017; however, there are very few areas where 5G can be practically used. It’s only available to a few folks at a consumer level for now.
That said, as we enter into 2020 and beyond, all three carriers should have a whole lot more coverage, and ultimately, more choices to choose from.