South Korea has successfully switched on commercial 5G network on the first day of December, officially marking the era of high-speed network. The country’s No.1 mobile carrier has become the first to make a commercial 5G video call, using a prototype Samsung smartphone.
The call was made between SK Telecom CEO Park Jung-ho in the company’s Bundang network management control center in Gyeonggi-do and a staff manager in Myeongdong, Seoul. Park noted increased clarity in phone quality compared to a video call made over 4G LTE, the predecessor of 5G.
SK Telecom’s 5G network currently covers main areas of 13 cities and counties nationwide, including Seoul, four cities in Gyeonggi-do (Seongnam, An-san, Hwaseong, Siheung), six metropolitan cities, Seogwipo in Jeju Island, and Ullengdo and Dokdo Islands in Ulleng county.
5G boasts a 20 times faster data transmission speed than the currently prevalent 4G LTE. 5G has ultra-wide bandwidth, ultra-low latency and ultra-fast connectivity. Data transmission speed of 5G is 20 times more than 20 gigabytes per second (Gbps), meaning a 2.5-gigabyte ultra-high-definition video can be downloaded in just one second. The network is currently only be accessed by corporate clients. Individual users can start using 5G from March.
The company’s first 5G customer is Myunghwa, a product quality assessment firm in Banwol Industrial complex in Ansan, Gyeonggi-do. Munghwa uses the 5G network to process ultra-high definition phots of auto components taken from different perspectives as the products are being moved on a conveyer belt. The images are transmitted using the 5G mobile router to a cloud server, where a high-performance AI interface can instantly identify whether a product is faulty.
The success of 5G video call signifies that SK Telecom’s journey to 5G high-speed network has officially begun. The company will focus on expanding the 5G-AI convergence ecosystem and generate social values by making efforts to provide the most stable and secure 5G network, leading the advancement of mobile communications.
A brief history of mobile networks: 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, LTE & 5G
Today, in the global mobile communications industry, all the hype is about the next generation mobile network, 5G. The jump from 4G (LTE) to 5G is indeed a profound change in telecommunications industry. 5G is the evolution of 4G LTE that promises faster, more reliable data speeds and connectivity, and less latency. 5G will sure make a killer smartphone feature of 2019 by facilitating data-intensive tasks, such as video calls, cloud service, controlling IoT and more. With the official launch of 5G high-speed network here in South Korea, let’s look at how mobile networks have evolved over the years.
1G: Voice Only
The first generation of cell phone technology, 1G, began in the early 1980s. This analog telecommunications standard offered only simple voice calls at the maximum speed of 2.4 Kbps. Compare to the succeeding generations of network, 1G has poor battery life and voice quality, little security, and a few dropped calls.
2G: SMS and MMS
The second-generation of cellular telephone technology, 2G, was introduced in 1992. 2G networks enabled digital encryption of conversations and text messages for the first time. 2G can securely deliver call and text, along with data services such as SMS text messages, picture messages, and multimedia messages (MMS) at the maximum speed of 50 Kbps. The main feature that separates 2G from 1G is that the former added simple text messaging feature. Moving from 1G to 2G indicates a great leap from analog to digital communications.
3G: More Data, Video Calling, and Mobile Internet
3G networks were introduced in 1998, ushering in faster data-transmission speeds. A transition from 2G to 3G provided faster data transfer rates, enabling the first video calls ever. This is especially suitable for today’s smartphones, which require ceaseless high-speed internet connection for various contents, including web browsing, sending emails, video downloading, picture sharing and more.
The term "mobile broadband" was first applied to 3G. Mobile broadband is a wireless technology that allows you to connect a mobile device such as smartphone or tablet to a broadband internet connection wirelessly through network. The maximum speed of 3G is around 2 Megabits per second and is capable of data transfer of up to 10 Mbps (or 10,000 Kbps). Compared to 2G’s peak transfer speed which is roughly between 40 and 100 Kbit/s, 3G has the minimum transfer speed of 144 Kbit/s.
4G: Enhanced network speed
The fourth generation of mobile phone communications standards, 4G, was released in 2008. 4G introduced ultra-broadband internet access for mobile devices, allowing many services that we enjoy today. This much higher data transfer rates are suitable for supporting various mobile services that demand high data speeds such as gaming services, HD mobile TV, video conferencing, and more. The maximum speed of 4G is at least 100 Mbps for high mobility connections (for example, inside a car) and it goes up to 1 Gigabit per second. It supports more simultaneous network connections than preceding mobile networks.
4G LTE: Advanced version of 4G
4G LTE, Long Term Evolution, is an advanced version of 4G, that allows high-speed data for smartphones and mobile devices. 4G LTE is sometimes referred to as “the gold standard of wireless technology,” with a farther-reaching bandwidth than 4G. 4G LTE wireless broadband is 10 times faster than 3G and its peak download speed is 1Gbps or 1000Mbps (125MBps). This high connection speeds allow smooth streaming of live video, uploading and downloading contents and better response times and mobile user experience for multiplayer online games.
5G: life-changing mobile network technology
The fifth generation of cellular mobile communications, 5G, targets high data rate, reduced latency, energy saving, higher system capacity, and massive device connectivity. 5G is one of the fastest, most robust technologies the world has ever seen. 5G is all about delivering life-changing technologies that allow massive amounts of data transfer at unimaginable speeds. This powerful network connectivity will make business more efficient and give consumers access to more information faster. This will have a massive impact on how we live, work and play-- autonomous cars, smart communities, industrial IoT, and immersive education will all rely on 5G.