Samsung Bets Big On 5G Technology

A Samsung employee arranges the new Samsung Galaxy S10e, S10, S10+ and the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G smartphones at a press event in London
A Samsung employee arranges the new Samsung Galaxy S10e, S10, S10+ and the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G smartphones at a press event in London, Britain February 20, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls)

South Korea's Samsung Electronics announced last week that they will release their 5G capable Galaxy S10 smartphones on April 5, six days prior to the release date of the United States' Motorola Moto Z3, making the country the first to release a 5G phone on the market.

The release of the new phone line is symbolic to since it will place South Korea in a well-positioned advantage of the early rollout of a 5G network.

5G is the next generation development in the wireless communications which is expected to lead the way to a new wave of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The newly developed network is said to be 20 times faster than the 4G LTE technology which means that the amount of data that takes 20 seconds to send will be delivered in a second.

The new network development is expected to lead many technological breakthroughs in many fields including medicine and retail. Analysts believe that the estimated added value of 5G to the global economy will reach $12 trillion by 2035.

The development of 5G technology is one of the Fourth Industrial Revolution-focused economic agenda of the South Korean President Moon Jae-in. According to reports, the Ministry of Science and ICT of South Korea plans to invest 86.3 billion won on the research and development of 5G technology by 2020.

The South Korean president believes that the new technology will contribute to the growth in many areas that includes smart manufacturing, smart cities, and autonomous vehicles. The National Assembly included an investment tax credit in the 2019 government budget to encourage service providers to build new base stations.

Despite being the first to release a 5G capable phone in the market, South Korea is still behind in the development of the technology compared to competitions like China. The country is still a few years away from the widespread commercial use of the technology.

According to reports, there is a limited number of Galaxy S10 5G phones in its release. Samsung also faces supply chain issues to be handled before they can mass produce the new phone models. The three largest mobile providers in South Korea, KT, SK Telecom, and LG Uplus, are expected to release their own 5G capable phone models following the announcement of Samsung. They are currently working to expand the existing network mostly based around Seoul. Reports said that the three phone makers plan to invest around 20 to 25 trillion won in the next four years.

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