South Korean 5G Launch Expected to Be Delayed Until April – Report

The expected mobile 5G network launch in South Korea will reportedly not hit its late March deadline.

The Korea Herald reported Thursday that the South Korean government said that the 5G network may be delayed until April because of next-generation smartphone delays. (See 5G Will Arrive in South Korea in March 2019.)

"We determined that it is much more desirable to wait until 5G smartphones' quality will become secure," the Herald quoted Chun Sung-bae, who is in charge of policy planning at the Korean ICT Ministry. "There is still a chance for 5G rollout in March, but it is not high."

The South Korean 5G had expected to utilize smartphones from Samsung (S10 5G) and LG Electronics (V50 ThinkQ) for the rollout. Samsung is said to be using its own Exynos 5G modem in its phone, which is reported to need more time to pass domestic trials. LG, meanwhile, is still waiting for 5G silicon from Qualcomm for its handset.

The launch plans are also being cramped by domestic pricing schemes for 5G. On Tuesday, the ICT Ministry said SK Telecom's planned 5G pricing will "restrict the consumers' right for choices." The pricing plan hasn't been revealed yet.

South Korean operators SK Telecom, KT and LG U+, all said in July 2018 that they would launch 5G on the the peninsula in March 2019.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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