LG Uplus emerged as the leading operator in South Korea in terms of 5G download rates, according to a report by Opensignal.

LG Uplus recorded an average of 237.2 Mb/s compared with 220.4 Mb/s at SK Telecom (SKT) and 214.8 Mb/s for KT.

“While users on LG Uplus experienced 5G speeds 5.2 times as fast as average 4G speeds, KT users saw the greatest increase in speeds with 5G download speed 4.8 times the 4G speeds seen on the same network. SK Telecom users saw the smallest jump, although speeds were still an impressive 3.5 times faster,” the report stated.

“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. 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.”

The report also showed that SK Telecom and LG Uplus had similar 5G availability, with users connected 15.4% and 15.1% of the time respectively, and KT 12.5%

For overall speed, Opensignal reported that SK Telecom obtained the first place as users experienced a combined speed of 110Mbps, ahead of LG Uplus, with 95.8 Mbps and KT, with 82.2 Mbps. This index represents the complete average download speed experience of 5G users and takes into account the average 4G download speed that a 5G user will see, as well as their actual 5G download speed using a 5G connection, as well as the amount of time they are connected to each type of network. Together, these measurements reveal 5G users’ overall download speed experience.

The results covered 2.89 million measurements carried on about 218,000 5G devices from February 1 to April 30 across various indoor and outdoor locations.

Korean operators launched non-standalone 5G service in early April 2019. At the end of May 2020, 5G customers represented approximately 10% of total mobile subscriptions according to South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT. The three leading mobile operators — KT, LG Uplus and SK Telecom — had 7 million 5G customers, up from 6.3m at the end of April.


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