Samsung Electronics’ 5G smartphone has passed tests for verifying its connection to the country’s biggest mobile carrier’s network, as anticipation grows for next month’s launch of the world’s first 5G smartphone amid intense global rivalry.
According to SK Telecom on Monday, the Galaxy S10 5G completed extensive tests for interoperability verification and frequency conformance. The two-month project was conducted at the company’s 5G device test lab located in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province.
Now that Samsung’s first 5G smartphone has been proven to work properly in more than 100 hypothetical network scenarios, SKT said South Korea’s 5G commercial rollout will proceed as planned early next month, following last-minute checks at factories.
“We believe (network verification) tests were the final process for commercialization,” SKT said in a press release. “Now the tests are proven to be successful, the results have made it easier for us to roll out the world’s first smartphone as scheduled.”
The telecom firm said the only remaining process is inspecting the smartphones in factories, which would take place this week. Samsung Electronics said last week the Galaxy S10 5G will hit the market on April 5, without taking preorders.
With the commercial rollout of 5G smartphones inching closer, SKT also submitted a new pricing plan for the advanced network after its initial scheme was rejected by the Ministry of Science and ICT earlier this month.
While the ICT Ministry and SKT declined to reveal the specifics of the pricing plan, the scheme is reported to include a monthly payment of 55,000 won ($48.50) for 10 gigabytes of data, with dual connectivity to 5G and 4G LTE networks.
“As soon as the government approves the pricing plan we will provide the world’s first 5G services,” an SKT official said.
The telecom has been under pressure from the government to come up with a medium-range pricing plan for those who cannot afford an expensive phone bill. In rejecting SKT’s original pricing plan on March 5, the government criticized it for “restricting consumers’ choice.”
As the country’s biggest mobile carrier, SKT is the only operator that requires government permission before introducing a pricing plan for smartphones. Once it releases its plan, other telecom firms are to come up with similar plans.
SKT’s original pricing plan submitted last month was reported to include three levels: 75,000 won for 150 gigabytes of data, 95,000 for 200 gigabytes and 125,000 for 300 gigabytes. SKT declined to comment on the reports.
Korea has been competing with the US to launch “the world’s first” 5G service since Verizon announced the US launch on April 11. The company said it would offer the service in selected US cities, starting with parts of Chicago and Minneapolis.
Following Verizon’s announcement, the government here has been hastening the release of 5G smartphones after postponing its previous deadline this month. The government withdrew its plan amid concerns smartphone makers might not meet quality standards for the device.