- KT, South Korea's biggest telecom company, worked with Disney to promote its first 5G network with an augmented reality (AR) game based on the movie "Avengers: Endgame," per a company announcement. The "Catch Heroes" mobile game challenged players to collect 140 types of virtual cards in their surroundings, similar to the gameplay of Niantic's "Pokémon Go."
- 5G subscribers were given an advantage in finding the virtual cards, each of which represented a superhero from the film, to complete their collections and win prizes. KT provides 5G service to South Korea's most-populated areas, including 85 major cities, 70 large shopping malls and 464 college campuses, the company said.
- As players discovered the locations of the hero cards, KT publicized them on a "5G Coverage Map" on its home page to showcase the availability of service. The game kicked off on April 5 and lasted five weeks.
KT's "Catch Heroes" app not only engaged target audiences with an immersive, gamified experience, but it also highlighted how the 5G platform can deliver AR content at higher speeds. The company in March said its 5G network will enable the development of smart factories, drone networks, driverless vehicles and Internet of Things (IoT) service on a massive scale. The collaboration with Disney to promote the launch of its next-generation 5G service in South Korea came several weeks after announcing it had chosen telecom equipment maker Ericsson to provide hardware and software for the advanced network.
KT signed up 100,000 subscribers to 5G in its month of release, a positive sign after the company faced delays amid disputes over the pricing of 5G plans and concerns that handset makers like Samsung and LG weren't prepared for the launch, ZDNet reported. The government said KT, SK Telecom and LG Uplus had registered a total of 260,000 subscribers during the first month of the 5G rollout. That subscriber number also indicates how many Galaxy S10 5G smartphones that Samsung sold in South Korea during the launch period as the only company with a 5G model ready to sell, per ZDNet. Handset makers like Google, Nokia, Huawei, LG and Motorola also have 5G phones in various stages of development, while Apple is forecast to release a 5G iPhone next year.
Even before rolling out its 5G network, KT has demonstrated how to apply AR technology for sales and marketing to consumers. Last August, KT launched an AR mobile shopping service that showed immersive views of products. The company's AR Market lets mobile shoppers view 360-degree videos of products on smartphones and tablets. Worldwide spending on AR and virtual reality is forecast to grow 68.8% to about $20.4 billion this year, according to the International Data Corporation. Online retail showcasing will drive $558 million of spending this year on the technologies, IDC estimated.