Mobile carriers in America and Korea launched the first 5G networks this week, with the ultra-fast new wireless technology offering speeds up to 100 times faster than current 4G.
South Korea’s three mobile carriers launched today, along with US telecoms company Verizon.
In the UK, EE is to launch 5G networks in cities later this year, along with 5G compatible phones from companies such as Samsung.
The new network is predicted to drive technologies such as self-driving cars, augmented reality, VR and ‘smart cities’, where sensors help cities to monitor everything from pollution to traffic.
The technology can offer 20-times faster data speeds than 4G long-term evolution (LTE) networks and better support for artificial intelligence and virtual reality with low latency.
Sometimes it can offer 100-times faster speeds.
Vodafone tested 5G hotspots in Birmingham this week, with commuters invited to try the speeds of the new service.
South Korea claimed to be the first country to launch 5G, but that was disputed by U.S. carriers who say they rolled out 5G in limited areas as early as last year.
SK Telecom spokeswoman Irene Kim said the company had internal discussions and decided to launch the 5G service early as the company had networks and customers ready.
South Korean carriers started offering 5G services at 11 p.m. local time (1400 GMT) on Wednesday.