The land of Samsung has won the 5G race, but New York's right after1
Verizon called dibs to 5G fame claims, initiating a commercial connection a few days before Korean carriers: "for the first time ever, customers can access a commercial 5G network with the world’s first commercially available 5G-enabled smartphone."
That's a lot of caveats and one lamp post near a Chicago stadium just with a Motorola Moto Z3 add-on obviously hasn't been enough to ward off the south Korean 5G onslaught, it turns out. A recent RootMetrics report highlights the globate state of 5G networks, and the birthplace of Samsung is leaps and bounds ahead of every other country out there, the US included, in terms of availability.
At most frequented places where RootMetrics drove to test, 5G coverage is nearing 100%, and making great inroads at others. As for the methodology: "RootMetrics tested 5G performance on the networks of KT, LG U+, and SK Telecom in four cities across South Korea from 6 May – 17 May 2021. Performance was measured indoors and outdoors in each city where and when people most often use their smartphones: tourist areas, business districts, and other areas at times of peak mobile usage. All tests were performed while walking and driving and were designed to represent the end-user’s real-world 5G experience."
Still, the move from the previous 4G LTE generation of mobile connectivity to the current 5G era is being marked by a transitional period that feels shorter than the move from 3G to 4G. Pandemics aside, it took just a year for Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint to roll out their nascent 5G networks in earnest, and call it a revolution.
That infrastructure push stems from the fact that, unlike 4G, the 5G rollout is on such a wide range of bands, that each carrier is creating their own unique network, and 5G phones have to work on all of them, raising the number of antennas, modem filters, and 5G-related costs to sights unseen.
Now that the strategy for all major carriers is clear - fast 5G on the mid- to high bands, and slower but farther-reaching on the low bands - they are deploying it in one form or another. T-Mobile won't be ready with its fast 5G network in earnest before 2023, though, and the others aren't doing better, so there is still some time for Korea to bask in its newfound 5G glory.