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South Korea: a “blueprint for 5G deployments”, says RootMetrics

RootMetrics image of South Korea.
(Image credit: RootMetrics.)

RootMetrics, a company that tests mobile network performance, has released its latest report on the current state of 5G in South Korea, and it has labelled the world’s most digitally connected country as the “blueprint” for 5G deployment.

“We recently tested 5G performance in seven South Korean cities, and simply put, the results were outstanding and could serve as a blueprint for 5G deployments in other cities around the world,” explained Dave Andersen, senior content manager at RootMetrics. “Not only did South Korean operators provide users with expansive access to 5G, fast speeds, and low latency, they’re also leading the worldwide 5G race.”

RootMetrics tested across seven cities – Busan, Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju, Incheon, Seoul, and Ulsan – during fall/autumn 2020, and measured 5G performance, both indoors and outdoors, in tourist areas, business districts, and other areas at times of peak mobile usage. 

"Simply put, 5G performance in South Korea is outstanding, has shown huge improvement in a relatively short period of time."

RootMetrics report.

“Simply put, 5G performance in South Korea is outstanding, has shown huge improvement in a relatively short period of time, and is generally much better than the 5G results we’ve seen to date in Switzerland, the UK, and the US,” the report explained.

RootMetrics South Korea graph 1.

(Image credit: RootMetrics.)

“In the second half of 2020, we tested South Korean operators KT, LG U+, and SK Telecom across seven major South Korean cities, and not only did the South Korean operators provide their subscribers with broad 5G availability and excellent speeds in every city we visited, they also showed significant improvement in the city of Seoul compared to what we found in South Korea’s capital city in 2019.”

Testing in South Korea

Testing in South Korea took place between September 15th and October 12th, on networks operated by KT, LG U+, and SK Telecom. The testing team used a Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G, collected 79,693 samples, visited 175 locations, and drove 4,055 kilometers.

RootMetrics South Korea graph 2.

(Image credit: RootMetrics.)

"5G availability ranged from SK Telecom’s robust 71.3% to an eye-catching 90.9% for LG U+."

RootMetrics report.

“Our tests showed that users in Seoul are benefiting from a massive jump in 5G availability. In 2019, 5G availability in Seoul was below 46% for all carriers,” the report said. “In 2020, on the other hand, 5G availability ranged from SK Telecom’s robust 71.3% to an eye-catching 90.9% for LG U+. While the 5G availability we found last year in Seoul was impressive by 2019 standards, the results we found in 2020 could mark a true tipping point on the path toward 5G ubiquity.”

The full report – titled ‘The future of 5G in practice: South Korean operators leading the worldwide 5G race’ – can be downloaded here

Dan Oliver

Dan is a British journalist with 20 years of experience in the design and tech sectors, producing content for the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, Dell and The Sunday Times. In 2012 he helped launch the world's number one design blog, Creative Bloq. Dan is now editor-in-chief at 5Gradar, where he oversees news, insight and reviews, providing an invaluable resource for anyone looking to stay up-to-date with the key issues facing 5G.