South Korea will launch the world’s first fully-fledged 5G mobile networks on Friday. The transformational leap already has superpowers sparring for control of innovation that could potentially change the day-to-day lives of billions of people. Hyper-wired South Korea has a reputation for technical prowess, and Seoul has made the 5G rollout a priority as it seeks to stimulate stuttering economic growth.
The superfast communications heralded by fifth-generation wireless technology will bring smartphones near-instantaneous connectivity – 20 times faster than the existing 4G. It is crucial for the future development of devices ranging from self-driving vehicles that send data traffic to one another in real time, industrial robots, drones and other elements of the Internet of Things.
5G’s hyper speed can connect one million devices within a one square kilometre zone simultaneously. Until now, no mobile networks have offered nationwide 5G access. Japan is expected to roll out a limited deployment in 2019 before full services start in time for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.