New report shows that South Korea is winning the global 5G race at a canter

Image by cmmellow from Pixabay
(Image credit: Image by cmmellow from Pixabay)

A new report by RootMetrics, containing their results from testing mobile network performance in four cities across South Korea, shows that operators KT, LG U+, and SK Telecom have continued to grow their 5G footprints and are delivering speeds that consumers in other countries can only dream of.

“Delivering the type of 5G experience that can help fuel new consumer and business activity.”

Patrick Linder, RootMetrics.

“5G is becoming the foundation of our connected communities and as important a piece of infrastructure as is water, roads, or electricity. We’ve tested performance in South Korea over many years. Our results continue to show that South Korean operators have taken a leading position in delivering the type of 5G experience that can help fuel new consumer and business activity,” said Patrick Linder, Chief Marketing Officer at RootMetrics. “As 5G continues to expand across the globe, the implementation strategies and performance seen in South Korea have set an impressive standard for other operators to follow,” Linder continued.

5G availability nearing 100%


(Image credit: RootMetrics)

The two key components of a consumer’s 5G experience are availability and 5G speed, which is what RootMetrics looks for when testing performance. The company has tested in South Korea since 2019 and the South Korean operators have consistently outperformed what the company finds in other countries across the globe. The most recent results show that trend continuing, with 5G availability nearing 100% in some areas and median download speeds that far eclipse top performance from leading operators in the US, UK, and Switzerland.


(Image credit: RootMetrics)

RootMetrics carried out their testing in the cities of Busan, Gwangju, Incheon, Seoul. The company used Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G 5G phones for testing in each city. RootMetrics measured South Korean 5G performance indoors and outdoors where people most often use their smartphones in and around each city: tourist areas, business districts and other high-population areas during hours of peak mobile usage. The total tests conducted was 48,526 and total indoor locations tested was 108.

In order to assure results reflect the typical consumer experience, RootMetrics’ testing utilised a regional AWS server located within South Korea. To minimise the impact of significant outlier results, for example a single excessively fast or slow test result, and provide insight into the most likely experience, RootMetrics always reports on median speed and latency results.

Increased availability and world-class speeds in Seoul


Consumers in Seoul have much more widespread access to 5G than networks in other major cities (Image credit: RootMetrics)

RootMetrics analysed results from their testing in Seoul in the autumn of 2020 to the those collected in May 2021. Results show that consumers in the city are now able to find 5G, regardless of operator, over 90% of the time. Furthermore, thanks to widespread 5G availability consumers in Seoul are able to experience world-class speeds nearly every time they use their 5G phones. 

With such a high proportion of 5G in Seoul, overall median download speeds were incredibly fast, ranging from KT’s 461.2Mbps to SK Telecom’s 622.0Mbps to LG U+’s 640.7Mbps. All three operators in the city delivered strong 5G performance, both indoors and outdoors, providing consumers with a seamless experience as they move throughout their daily mobile activities. Latency for all three operators also impressed, ranging from the 25.5ms recorded on the LG U+ network to 34.5ms from KT, and 42.0ms from SK Telecom.

Rachael Sharpe

Rachael is a British journalist with 17 years experience in the publishing industry. Since launching, she’s been freelancing, and working for some of the world’s best-loved websites and magazines including and and has also had a book, iPad for Photographers, published. A regular contributor at 5Gradar, Rachael is following the 5G market closely. Find out more at