The Korean telco said the initial 5G service will be offered by an AI-equipped robot
Korean telco KT said it has officially launched its 5G network commercial service, through an AI-equipped robot named Lota.
The robot will guide visitors through the Seoul Sky Observatory, which sits on top of Lotte World Tower in eastern Seoul. The company said it aims to expand its 5G offerings in the coming months.
KT deployed the first phase of its 5G network in late November. The new service has been launched in the greater Seoul metropolitan area, in the country’s most populated, major metropolitan cities outside Seoul and in isolated areas including Jeju, Ulleung and Dok islands.
KT said it plans to expand its nationwide 5G network to 24 major cities, key transport routes such as expressways, subways, high-speed railways, large universities and neighborhood shopping areas.
The first customer service available on KT’s 5G network is 10 gigabytes of data for a mobile hotspot terminal at a monthly rate of 49,500 won ($44).
Rival operators SK Telecom and LG Uplus have also recently launched initial 5G services in certain areas of Seoul and other metropolitan areas. SK Telecom recently said that its 5G offering for the corporate segment will be provided as a package with mobile routers and network services.
LG Uplus said it has been deploying base stations to launch its commercial 5G offering since October. The carrier said it will have more than 7,000 base stations by the end of December. It has already set up 4,100 5G base stations in 11 cities including Seoul, Incheon, Daejeon, Bucheon, Goyang, Gwangmyeong, Hanam and other cities in Gyeonggi Province.
LG Uplus also highlighted that it will adapt its 5G service to various sectors, such as the remote control of heavy equipment and agricultural machines, drones, CCTV, smart factories and smart cities.
In April this year, the three mobile operators announced plans to share the costs for the deployment of a nationwide 5G network in the Asian nation, to be carried out by SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus as well as broadband operator SK Broadband. This shared infrastructure projects had the main aim of avoiding redundant investment in 5G deployments, according to government officials. The initiative is expected to generate savings of nearly 1 trillion won over the next ten next years.
In June, South Korea completed a tender process through which it awarded spectrum in both the 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz bands. The government made available a total of 280 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz spectrum band and 2,400 megahertz in the 28 GHz band. The spectrum was divided into 28 blocks and 24 blocks.
Participant operators SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus had a 10-block cap per spectrum band. The telcos paid a total of 3.6183 trillion won ($3.3 billion) for the spectrum, 340 billion won higher than the starting price of 3.3 trillion won.
Operators were able to begin using the 5G frequencies as of this month, with the 3.5 GHz band licenses covering a ten-year period and the 28 GHz band licenses a five-year term.