SEOUL: South Korea launched the world’s first nationwide 5G mobile networks two days early, its top mobile carriers said Thursday, in a late-night scramble to be the first providers of the super-fast wireless technology.
Three top telecom providers — SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus — began their 5G services at 11 pm local time Wednesday, despite previously announcing the launch date would be April 5.
Hyper-wired South Korea has long had a reputation for technical prowess, and Seoul had made the 5G rollout a priority as it seeks to stimulate stuttering economic growth.
But speculation that US mobile carrier Verizon might start its 5G services early forced South Korean providers to hastily organise a late-night launch, Yonhap news agency reported.
In the event, Verizon began rolling out its 5G services in Chicago and Minneapolis on Wednesday US time, a week ahead of schedule.
But according to Yonhap, the South Korean launches came two hours earlier.
“SK Telecom today announced that it has activated 5G services for six celebrities representing Korea as of 11 pm April 3, 2019,” the country’s biggest mobile operator said in a news release Thursday.
The celebrities — including two members of K-pop band EXO and Olympic ice-skating hero Kim Yu-na — were “the world’s first 5G smartphone subscribers”, it said.
Both KT and LG Uplus said they also went live at the same time.
For general customers, the services will be available from Friday — the previous launch date — when Samsung Electronics rolls out the Galaxy S10 5G, the world’s first available smartphone using the technology.
Verizon’s system will work with Lenovo’s Moto Z3 smartphone, while rival US carrier AT&T deployed what it called its 5G E network in 12 cities last year — although it is slower than other 5G systems and questions have been raised over whether it is fully fifth-generation.
Experts say 5G will bring smartphones near-instantaneous connectivity — 20 times faster than 4G — allowing users to download entire movies in less than a second.
The technology is crucial for the future development of devices such as self-driving vehicles and is expected to bring about $565 billion in global economic benefits by 2034, according to the London-based Global System for Mobile Communications, an industry alliance.
ConnecTechAsia 2019 in Singapore showcases latest smart technologies, trends
SINGAPORE: ConnecTechAsia 2019, comprising BroadcastAsia, CommunicAsia and NXTAsia, kicks off on Tuesday in Singapore, showcasing the latest smart technologies and trends that are shaping Asia’s digital future.
According to the organizer Informa Markets, the three-day event attracts many famous technology companies, including Alibaba Cloud, Amazon, Huawei, Google, IBM and Singtel.
These companies get together at the event to outline the latest tech innovations, create new business and network opportunities, and impart thought leadership to visitors from around the world.
Tan Kiat How, Chief Executive of Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority, said at the opening ceremony that ConnecTechAsia is one of the region’s largest telecommunication, media and technology event. This year, the event has over 1,700 exhibitors and a series of roundtable discussions on issues such as artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.
He said that the event is important because it brings together industry leaders, solution providers, entrepreneurs and policy makers to focus on the key issues of the day.
Despite of the significant uncertainties faced by global economy, the pace of the digital revolution remains unabated, according to the official.
“The public and private sector can, and must, work together to achieve our shared goals of harnessing the full benefits of digitalization,” the CEO said.
World’s highest operating weather stations installed on Mt. Everest
ISLAMABAD: The National Geographic Society has announced the successful installation of the worlds highest operating weather stations on Mount Everest to provide researchers, climbers, and the public with near real-time information about mountain conditions, the media reported.
“The multi-disciplinary team installed the world’s two highest operating automated weather stations at Balcony area (8,430 m) and South Col (7,945 m), as well as three other weather stations on Mount Everest,” Fae Jencks, Director, Marketing and Communications at the National Geographic Society, said in a statement.
The other stations were placed at Phortse (3,810 m), Everest Base Camp (5,315 m) and Camp II (6,464 m), the statement said, adding that each weather station will record data on temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed, and wind direction, The Himalayan Times reported.
Data from the weather stations and other new research conducted as part of National Geographic and Rolex’s Perpetual Planet Extreme Expedition to Everest will help communities respond to climate risks that threaten the lives and livelihoods of the more than one billion people in the region.
The successful installation aims to break new ground in our monitoring and understanding of climate change as the stations will help continuously monitor the upper reaches of the atmosphere, which is critical to tracking and predicting weather patterns around the globe, the statement added.
“The Balcony weather station is the first weather station installed at an elevation above 8,000 meters, meaning it will also be the first to sample the stratosphere as natural variations in the atmospheric boundaries change over time.”
From April to June, an international team of scientists, climbers, and story-tellers, led by the NatGeo Society and Tribhuvan University and supported in partnership with Rolex, conducted a scientific expedition to Everest, believed to be the most comprehensive single scientific expedition to the mountain in history, it claimed.
With team members from eight countries, including 17 Nepali researchers, the expedition team conducted trailblazing research in five areas of science that are critical to understanding environmental changes and their impacts: biology, glaciology, meteorology, geology, and mapping.
Instagram, PlayStation hit with outages
SAN FRANCISCO: An Instagram outage on Thursday left users of the Facebook-owned social network flocking to Twitter to vent frustration.
The website DownDetector.com showed a spike in reports of Instagram being unavailable in the afternoon, nearly hitting 54,000 before diving back down.
“Earlier today, a technical issue caused some people to have trouble accessing their Instagram accounts. We are now fully recovered and apologize for the inconvenience,” an Instagram spokesperson said in a statement.
The company did not elaborate on the cause or extent of the outage.
People using the #instagram hashtag on Twitter posted that attempts to access the service on mobile apps or computers had been met with messages such as “couldn’t refresh feed” or “something went wrong.”
Along with complaints and animated gifs playing on the inconvenience, some offered words of wisdom.
“Imagine if Instagram and social media closed every day at 6 pm like a shop,” read a tweet from the account of @stevebartlettsc.
“We would all be forced to meet up and speak to each other in real life, to be present with our families, to work out, to go outside, to read, to make art, music… eurghhh, nevermind.”
Meanwhile, some gamers trying to access the PlayStation network on Thursday were also met with error messages.
“We’re aware that some users are experiencing issues logging into PSN. Thank you for your patience as we investigate,” the official Ask PlayStation Twitter account said.
According to DownDetector.com, the outages were concentrated in northern Europe and Britain, as well as in several parts of the United States and Brazil.
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