5G service started in Korea from April 3rd. It is the first in the world that Korea’s three major telecommunications carriers, SK Telecom, KT, and LG U +, will launch 5G. The same 5G service started in the United States with a delay of the same days, but with the situation where only Verizon is still one, Korea is about to start the full-scale spread of 5G ahead of the world.
The characteristics of 5G are “ultra high speed” “low delay” “simultaneous multiple connection”. Of these, it is ultra-high-speed communication that can be experienced with a smartphone. Recently, even with 4G, modems that support gigabit communication have appeared, but it is impossible to achieve speeds up to that point unless the communication conditions are good. The terminal also needs to be equipped with a high-speed modem.
In 5G, on the other hand, 5G itself supports high-speed communication of 10 Gbps or more, so all 5G-compatible smartphones also support gigabit communication. 5G will open up a new world that could not be experienced in 4G.
So is everyone in Korea changing to 5G?
I tried to visit Korea at the end of April and the beginning of May, but although the word “5G” is raised at the storefront of a telecommunications carrier, the reaction of the store clerks in the store is true One more thing. If you pick up a 5G terminal, you will be explained, but you can not get a powerful word, “5G is better!”
Why is this all?
5G of Korea adopts “NR” method. The frequency is 3.5 GHz (Band n 78). The start of higher frequency, so-called “millimeter wave” service will be around the end of the year.
As for smartphones compatible with this 5G NR, the “Galaxy S10 5G” will be released from Samsung at the same time the service in April begins, and “V50 ThinQ” will also appear from LG on May 10. The LG terminal was originally supposed to be released on April 19, but it has been delayed about a month due to a problem.
Three Korean companies’ 5G services have a maximum speed of 2 Gbps or more, which is much faster than low-speed wired communication. There is also no stress when watching and listening to streaming without saving the viewing of videos on the device. Even if you want to download, you can save a movie in just a few seconds. 5G is an indispensable communication environment in the video age.
However, when I tried 5G in Seoul, the speed was not stable. When I was connected at high speed, I was able to feel the attractiveness of 5G without watching YouTube on YouTube. However, when I went around the main downtown area, it was not always a high-speed situation, although I could not afford the lack of gigabit communication speed.
The three companies’ communication speeds were up to 700 Mbps, and when low, they interrupted 100 Mbps. Of course it’s faster than 4G, but “it’s fast and sometimes it’s late” this was the situation in 5G in Seoul.
If you look at the 5G coverage map provided by KT, the downtown area of Seoul city is almost the entire 5G area. The number of 5G base stations throughout Korea is 38,121 as of May 12, including 15,105 in Seoul. Although it is not a simple comparison, considering that the number of DOCOMO premium 4G base stations is approximately 160,000 at the end of 2017, it seems that the number of KT 5G base stations is reasonable.
However, when I actually walked in Seoul with a Galaxy S10 5G in one hand, there were a lot of cases where I dropped into 4G if I thought it led to 5G. Perhaps this is because the 3.5 GHz frequency is vulnerable to obstacles and hard to bend.
Korea’s 5G service will not use only 5G frequencies, but will use 4G / LTE frequencies together. Therefore, even if the connection with 5G is disconnected, you will not notice much slowing down because it is always connected to 4G. Conversely, 4G / LTE in Korea is serviced at a fairly high density. In addition, 3 carriers set up a hot spot in the car, and automatically switch to Wi-Fi when you get on the subway.
When 3G service started in Japan, there was a problem that radio waves were hard to enter because it uses 2.1 GHz (Band 1). While DOCOMO used the 1.5 GHz band to improve accessibility, Softbank wanted 900 MHz (0.9 GHz) called “Platinum band” because it wanted to improve the radio wave condition. Low frequency radio waves have the property of getting around even if there are obstacles, so it is possible to reduce the number of base stations in urban areas etc.
Because 5G / NR in Korea is 3.5 GHz, in big cities like Seoul, radio waves from base stations will be less likely to fly due to the effects of high-rise buildings. And when the 5G / NR radio wave gets weak, it is like receiving the strong 4G / LTE radio wave from the beginning.
Even if you walk in the city of Seoul with a 5G compatible smartphone, that’s why it’s never been 4G in many areas.
By the way, Galaxy S10 5G is exhibited when you go to the shop of Samsung and the shop of each carrier. However, when you look at the antenna mark, it is connected by Wi-Fi, and there are few stores that are connected and tested by 5G. I think that at least the inside of the store should be equipped with a 5G antenna, but companies may think that it is better to make it usable in the city than it can be used in the store. At the moment it is difficult to visit Seoul and experience 5G in some shops.
This is Korea’s 5G, which began in a big way like this, but in terms of practicality it has not yet reached the level at which it can raise the passing score. For a while, each carrier will also receive user feedback and work to increase the number of base stations, so it may be quite useful during summer vacation. By that time, I would like to make a 5G contract in Korea using some means.