KT is giving out free chicken and Starbucks coffee at the party launching 5G on April 5. This one is for real.* Seoul is covered and many other cities. By the end of 2019, 80% of the country will be ready. Korea's networks have more base stations upgraded than the entire rest of the world, excluding China.**
It will primarily be 3.5 GHz, with customer speeds mostly 100-400 meg. Lab/peak speeds will be a little over 1 gig, about the same as good LTE. They have demonstrated a combined LTE/5G system that could double that, but I don't know when it will ship. They are offering the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G for well over US$1,000.
The price will be US$48-70. The lower price has an 8-gigabyte cap. They wanted to charge US$62 but the government held up their permission to operate until they had a cheaper offering.
The largest mobile carrier, SK Telecom, has 34,000 cells deployed. KT has 30,000 and LG+ 18,000. LG+ expects 50,000 radios by July. KT has promised 80% population coverage by the end of 2019.
LG, KT, & SK have all predicted they will be #1 in Korea and have been building furiously.
* Verizon, AT&T and most of the other big talkers have 90% fewer sites.
** China has provided numbers. Nomura thinks 172,000 by the end of 2019, but that looks high.
** The Chinese carriers are not providing numbers yet. Nomura estimates China will have 172,000 cells by yearend, but that's probably too high. The three giants intend to spend US$4-6 billion in 2019.