South Korea’s telecommunications carriers have turned on super-fast 5G mobile internet networks abruptly ahead of schedule in an attempt to ensure the country becomes the first in the world to launch the services.

The carriers’ 5G networks went live at 11 p.m. Wednesday, hours before U.S. carrier Verizon turned on its 5G network. The South Korean carriers had initially planned to start their 5G services on Friday, but moved up after Verizon announced plans to launch its 5G services earlier than expected.

Carriers say 5G-enabled smartphones are capable of downloading data 20 times faster than existing 4G devices, allowing users to download full movies almost instantly.

South Korean Comedian Yang Se-hyun wears a VR device for an audio-visual experience during a media showcase for 5G service of SK Telecom in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
South Korean Comedian Yang Se-hyun wears a VR device for an audio-visual experience during a media showcase for 5G service of SK Telecom in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
Participants wear VR devices for an audio-visual experience during a media showcase for 5G service of SK Telecom in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
Participants wear VR devices for an audio-visual experience during a media showcase for 5G service of SK Telecom in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)