South Korean operators have joined forces to target early April 2019 as the go-live date for what Ericsson says will be the world’s first nationwide provision of 5G commercial services in time to support commercially available 5G smartphones. KT’s planned nationwide 5G network plays a central role.
Under this initial commercial contract — the first since Ericsson was selected as a 5G supplier to KT in November 2018 — Ericsson is providing 3GPP standards-based 5G New Radio hardware and software from Ericsson’s complete 5G platform to cover KT’s 3.5 GHz Non-Standalone (NSA) network.
According to a statement from Ericsson issued on Thursday, South Korean consumers are known as early adopters of technology such as advances in mobility, gaming, streaming, infotainment, and interactive functionality.
It said KT subscribers, with 5G smartphones, were set to be among the first globally to benefit from the enhanced mobile broadband enabled by 5G through ultra-low latency user experiences.
In addition to immersive media, KT’s 5G commercialisation use case plans covers smart factories, safety, drones and connected vehicles.
Ericsson says its 5G network can also enable KT to open up Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 opportunities to South Korean enterprises on a global scale.
Jinho Choi, vice-president, Access Network Design, KT, said: "Having worked successfully with Ericsson on 4G LTE, we are pleased to continue that partnership to make our 5G ambitions a reality with Ericsson’s leading 5G technology.
“South Korea is one of the most competitive and technology-advanced markets in the world. By taking a global lead to enable nationwide commercial 5G services through commercially available 5G smartphones, KT is demonstrating our commitment to our customers and showing how we can drive a global 5G ecosystem where Korea plays a key role.”
Patrick Johansson, head of Ericsson South Korea, said: “We’ve worked with KT for many years to bring the very best mobile user experiences to its customers. Notably on 5G, we worked closely together to show the world what 5G could do during a major global winter sports event in 2018.
“With 5G we aim to help KT to take their customers’ experiences to new levels, whether through enhanced mobile broadband for mobile subscribers, or helping to make national and global IoT and Industry 4.0 opportunities a reality for enterprises and industries.”