The Korean government announced that 5G had reached over 1 million subscribers on June 10th taking only 69 days, beating the previous record of 80 days for LTE uptake. With Reports of subscriptions to the new technology in the country expected to reach between 4 to 5 million before the end of the year, carriers and companies should be giving themselves a big pat on the back. But with all the glitz and glamour of shiny new phones, enhanced speeds and some promises of 5G changing your life, is it really worth it right now to change?
Korea always has its finger on the pulse when it comes to new technologies and it isn’t afraid to flex its muscles. With all of the major carriers offering 5G coverage, you can shop around and compare prices. But should you be looking to make the leap right now?
Currently we’re in this early adopter stage, a beta test of what we could potentially expect from a fully-fledged 5G network, coverage is still patchy in Korea, only covering a limited number of cities and places, reverting back to slower speeds when out of range of the new network technology. The carriers are however constantly adding more coverage to their roadmap and it currently looks like a fully rollout will be achieved after 2020. Subscriber numbers are still relativity low with only around 1 million people singing up so far.
It’s up to the companies to persuade consumers why they should be making the leap, this leads us to the glitzy advertising and flashy Hollywood like advertising campaigns appearing almost everywhere you go.
Can 5G change your life and make it easier? Yes, but it won’t happen overnight, it takes time and once more hardware and tech companies embrace it, then we shall start to see some real changes.
Companies like Samsung and LG have already released 5G ready devices, capable of super-fast gaming on the go and steaming content, however it’s still a very limited market and there isn’t a lot of choice, in fact companies like Apple are reportedly waiting until 2020 to release a fully-fledged 5G iPhone.
Another issue is that 5G phones carry a higher premium than current generation models, plus with carriers adding up to $10 extra for a 5G plan, isn’t it better to hold of switching, LTE speeds on current devices are still incredibly good, combine this with the abundance of free (or included with your plan) Wi-Fi hotspots, you are still getting some of the best speeds in Korea and some of the highest in the world, Korea currently ranks top 3 in mobile and fixed broadband speeds according to the current Speed test global index.
Korea already has a much better telecommunications infrastructure than most countries around the world, it should continue to maintain that, and with 5G it can, but 5G currently feels like a space race, who can get it up and running quicker than anyone else, instead time should be taken, to better perfect it for a larger rollout, with limited devices taking advantage of the new technology, it still feels in its infancy.