Opensginal, a mobile testing company, has released a new report (opens in new tab) on the current state of 5G in South Korea, the world’s leading market for next generation mobile networking.
At the end of May 2020, 5G customers represented approximately 10% of total mobile subscriptions in South Korea, according to the country’s Ministry of Science and ICT. No other country has this level of 5G pepentration to date, and the three leading mobile operators - KT, LG U+ and SK Telecom - have seven million 5G customers between them.
South Korea's mobile network operators (MNOs) first launched 5G services in April 2019, and having had a year to bed in, Opensignal chose this point to evaluate the current standard of 5G speed in the country.
“Our Korean users experienced average 5G speed ranging from 237.2 Mbps on LG U+ to 214.8 Mbps on KT,” the report said. “These results indicate the real-world 5G speeds where our users had an active 5G connection. The results include tests across all of the locations where smartphone users spend their time, indoors or outdoors, at work or at home, in parks or in shops, or in transit between locations.”
High average 5G speeds
There was only 22.4Mbps separating the top 5G speeds between South Korea’s three 5G MNOs, with average 5G download speeds ranging from 237.2 Mbps on LG U+, to 214.8 Mbps on KT (with SK Telecom measuring 220.4Mbps). And these speeds were particularly noteworthy, as South Korea is yet to implement mmWave 5G in the country.
“These high average 5G speeds are especially striking because South Korea's operators are yet to launch 5G services using the type of high capacity wireless spectrum, mmWave, which powers the fastest average 5G speeds we have seen anywhere globally,” the report explained. “Instead, South Korea is using the same type of mid-band spectrum also used by operators in Australia and across Europe. However, in those countries with a similar type of 5G spectrum used, Opensignal has seen to date significantly slower 5G speeds than in South Korea — typically in the 110 - 170 Mbps range.”
To pull these findings together, Opensignal ran tests on 218,095 devices across South Korea’s three 5G mobile networks, whilst taking a total of 1,285,525,397 measurements between the start of February and the end of April, 2020.
You can download the full report on South Korea’s current 5G speeds and performance here.