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Korean telcos use Galaxy S10 pre-orders to compete for initial 5G subscribers

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Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

South Korean telcos are going all out to lure their first 5G subscribers, kicking it off with the sale of the Galaxy S10 5G on Friday.

The launch of the smartphone will signal the official beginning of 5G commercialisation in South Korea, the world’s first roll out of 5G networks.

SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus have started pre-orders for Samsung’s 5G offering on Monday with their own respective batches of free gifts.

SK Telecom will give out the Galaxy S10 5G for free to five pre-ordering customers, while also giving a wireless vacuum cleaner to 55 people and free wireless chargers to 555 people.

Those who pre-ordered through the mobile carrier’s online shopping mall, T World Direct, will either get a free wireless charging pad, a secondary battery, or a car rest.

KT is also offering its own set of gifts. It will be giving out a free Samsung TV or Dyson hair set to two people, among pre-ordering customers, every day from April 1-15. It will also be giving E-Mart mobile gift cards to a hundred customers and free chicken certificates to 5,000 people.

It will also invite 50 customers who may each bring a companion with them, of those that applied, to attend an exclusive launch event at On Restaurant. Customers of KT’s On Restaurant will be able to eat anything for free with a charge of 1.98 won for each additional serving after the first one. 

LG Uplus meanwhile will give a free VR headset to every customer that purchases a Galaxy S10 5G by May. Those who buy the smartphone by June through the carrier will get YouTube Premium for free for six months.

Last year, all three telcos agreed to launch 5G services at the same time to avoid unnecessary competition. It was seen as a move to prevent a repeat of the costly marketing campaigns that plagued the 4G LTE launch in 2011.

But competition will remain fierce as it will be a chance for telcos to gain new market share and possibly change the power dynamics among them. For 20 years, SK Telecom has been the largest mobile carrier, with KT coming second, and LG Uplus being a distant third.

Promotion events are also likely to ignite again with the launch of V50 ThinQ 5G on April 19.

LG Uplus gained significant clout during the LTE era and is planning to extend further in 5G by being the first to introduce overseas services. LG Uplus introduced Netflix and is also the only carrier to use equipment by Huawei, despite the global security controversy surrounding the Chinese company.

South Korea initially planned to roll out 5G in March but it was delayed due to industry players not being ready. The government finally accepted data plans from the carriers that include a low-entry 55,000 won per month late last month.

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LG V50 ThinQ with 5G to launch in South Korea on April 19

LG will launch its first 5G smartphone, the V50 ThinQ, in South Korea on April 19, two weeks after the release of Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G.

Samsung and KT achieve 1Gbps speed on 5G commercial network

KT’s 5G network will be ready for use in 85 cities across South Korea, including Seoul, by the end of the month. This includes 5G service coverage throughout various major national highways and high-speed railways.

KT 5G being launched by Ericsson

KT’s 5G network will be commercially launched in early April, with the Korean carrier partnering with Ericsson for the deployment.

Galaxy S10 5G to have 2.7Gbps top speed in South Korea

Galaxy S10 5G smartphone will eventually have data transfer speeds up to 2.7Gbps in South Korea, SK Telecom says, following its completion of 5G-LTE aggregation testing.

South Korea 5G rollout faces delays

South Korea will likely delay the rollout of 5G networks that was initially planned for this month due to delays in setting the right pricing plan, and smartphone makers and telcos struggling to meet the schedule.

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The NTSB is probing another fatal Tesla crash

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Over the years, there have been multiple accidents involving Tesla vehicles that were allegedly operating on Autopilot at the time. Autopilot is Tesla’s semi-autonomous driver assistance tech. To use Autopilot, drivers are supposed to keep their hands on the wheel, but some owners have found ways to defeat that system.

Recently police in Coral Gables, Florida, were called to the scene of an accident involving a Tesla Model 3. The accident occurred on Monday evening of this week and happened in a residential area. According to police, the vehicle was using the Autopilot system at the time of the accident.

After the Model 3 crashed, its battery packs caught fire, and the two deceased occupants were badly burned. The bodies were damaged enough that they haven’t been positively identified at this time. The fatal accident occurred when the Model 3 impacted a tree. After that impact, there was a fire.

The NTSB has confirmed that it has sent three investigators to the area to look into the cause of the fire. This accident isn’t the first allegedly involving Tesla’s Autopilot system that NTSB has investigated. Previously, the NTSB also investigated an accident involving a Tesla that happened in Texas in April.

In that particular accident, police believe no one was in the driver’s seat. Some Tesla owners have discovered how to activate autopilot without being in the driver’s seat. In August, the NHTSA opened a formal probe into Tesla automobiles and its Autopilot driver assistance system after 11 crashes involving Autopilot-equipped vehicles and police and fire vehicles. There have been 11 crashes involving Tesla’s that have led to the death of occupants since 2016. Whether or not autopilot is at fault is unknown.

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Chevrolet Bolt production stoppage extended until mid-October

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GM has announced that it will extend its production stoppage for the Bolt electric vehicle through at least mid-October. The announcement marks an extension of its production stoppage announced in late August due to a massive battery recall for the electric vehicle. The defective battery packs have caused 12 fires.

Most recently, a Bolt caught fire in the owner’s garage, destroying the vehicle, damaging the home, and causing damage to another vehicle stored in the garage at the time. GM has confirmed that Bolt production at the Orion Assembly plant will not commence until at least October 15. The massive battery recall has already cost around $2 billion, and GM says it will recover most of that money from battery supplier LG.

Chevrolet’s latest production stoppage for the Bolt comes in the middle of a massive chip shortage that has forced production on other vehicle assembly lines to stop. Sales and production of the Bolt won’t begin until the automaker has a confirmed fix for the battery issues.

An investigation laid the blame on misaligned robots at the battery assembly factory. According to that report, the misaligned robots caused a torn anode tab placing it closer to the cathode leading to short-circuiting and fires. After another fire that happened this month, GM issued a new warning to owners of the small electric vehicle.

The new warning tells Bolt owners to keep their vehicles at least 50 feet away from homes, offices, and other vehicles. Unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely that any owner who heeds the warning and parks 50 feet away from homes or offices would be able to charge their vehicle, essentially making them useless until a fix is available. Defective battery packs have led to three injuries and multiple fires.

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2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L gets over 75 factory Mopar accessories

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As if configuring a 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is not confusing enough, Mopar has released over 75 factory-backed accessories for Jeep’s first-ever seven-seat SUV. The highlights include new 21-inch Mopar-specific five-spoke wheels with a Jeep center cap and integrated side steps that install cleanly without drilling holes in your precious Grand Cherokee L.

“The all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee L presents a great opportunity for customization and personalization, said Mark Bosanac, North America Vice President, Mopar Service, Parts & Customer Care. “ The side steps mentioned above are made of black galvanized stainless steel with a chrome overlay, perfectly matching the premium vibe of the Grand Cherokee L. In addition, the powder-coated finish ensures durable protection against friction, bumps, and UV rays.

The 21-inch Granite Crystal wheels start at $500 each, while the side steps are $750. Other notable accessories include a roof-mount cargo basket ($350) with a 150-pound maximum load capacity, roof-rack crossbars ($300) that allows attachment of all Mopar roof carriers, and a $200 watersport carrier and bike carrier (sold separately) to accommodate kayaks, surfboards, and a bicycle.

Mopar’s rear-seat entertainment system ($1,625) has a roof-mounted DVD player and a 10-inch screen with two Bluetooth headphones to entertain the kids on long journeys. If you have pets, Mopar has a $190 collapsible kennel with a carrying handle. “Across the entire Jeep Grand Cherokee L lineup, we offer 75 factory-backed, quality-tested accessories,” added Bosanac.

Least to say, you won’t be running out of options when buying a 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L. The standard powerplant is a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with 293 horsepower, 260 pound-feet of torque, and up to 6,200 pounds of towing. You can have this engine in 2WD or 4WD, and both have an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

However, you can have a 5.7-liter V8 in the Jeep Grand Cherokee L Limited, Overland, and Summit 4×4. Pumping out 357 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque, V8-equipped Grand Cherokee L models have a maximum 7,200-pound towing capacity.

If you choose all-wheel-drive, you have three drivetrains to think about: Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II, and Quadra-Drive II. Also, the cabin is configurable with six or seven seats. The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L has base prices at$38,690, while the range-topping Summit and Summit Reserve trims are $58,690 and $66,985, respectively.

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