Korean carrier SK Telecom has officially launched commercial 5G services across the country, the telco said in a statement.
SK Telecom said that nationwide coverage is being offered through a total of 34,000 5G base stations in 85 cities.
The company has rolled out its 5G network in data traffic-concentrated areas, including university districts, sports stadiums, highways, subway lines (Seoul and Seoul Metropolitan Area) and beaches.
The telco also said that it is expanding in-building coverage in 120 department stores, shopping malls and airports throughout the country.
SK’s 5G network supports up to 2.7 Gbps data transmission speed and uses quantum cryptography technologies to eliminate the risk of hacking.
In the second half of 2019, SK Telecom aims to expand its 5G network coverage to nationwide subways, national parks and festival sites.
The operator expects to attract approximately 1 million 5G customers by the end of this year. It has a total of 27 million users.
SK Telecom has also introduced four different plans for its commercial 5G offering.
The "Slim" plan offers 8 GB of data (1 Mbps speeds after the data cap is reached) at KRW 55,000 ($48) per month and the "5GX Standard" plan comes with 150 GB of data (5 Mbps speeds after data cap) at KRW 75,000 ($66) per month.
Customers who subscribe to "5GX Prime" (200 GB of data for $84 per month) or "5GX Platinum" (300 GB of data for $110 per month) plans through the end of June 2019 will be able to use unlimited data without speed restrictions at KRW 89,000 ($78) and KRW 125,000 ($110) per month, respectively. Unlimited data will be provided on that promotional basis through the end of December, according to the operator.
The telco said it plans to update its price plans after analyzing the data usage patterns of subscribers of unlimited plans.
SK Telecom announced that it has secured around 8,000 different content in diverse areas including video games, ultra-high definition, augmented reality, virtual reality and communications.
Rival operator KT recently confirmed it has already deployed 15,000 5G base stations in Seoul and will install a total of 30,000 5G base stations across the country by April 5.
The carrier said that its 5G commercial offering will be available in 85 major cities nationwide by the end of 2019.
Meanwhile, LG Uplus said it has already deployed a total of 18,000 5G base stations in Seoul and surrounding areas as well as some metropolitan cities. The carrier announced plans to install 50,000 base stations within the first half of the year.
The three Korean carriers had launched limited 5G commercial services in December 2018 as part of an agreement with the ICT ministry to launch simultaneously to avoid excessive competition. The three mobile carriers initially launched the 5G service in limited areas in Seoul
In June 2018, South Korea completed a tender process through which it awarded spectrum in both the 3.5 and 28 GHz bands. The government made available a total of 280 MHz in the 3.5 GHz spectrum band and 2400 MHz in the 28 GHz band. The spectrum was divided into 28 and 24 blocks.