Mobile connections in Korea get even faster

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Mobile connections in Korea get even faster

The speed of Korean mobile data improved this year, from the most frequently used broadband long-term evolution (LTE) to Wi-Fi and 3G.

However, all the carriers delivered slower data transfer speeds than they initially promised in advertisements.

In 2014, Wi-Fi services showed the largest improvements. The average speed for Wi-Fi, 11.7 megabytes per second, was 77 percent faster than the average last year.

The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning on Tuesday released an annual report that describes the quality of mobile telecommunication services provided by the nation’s three largest mobile carriers, SK Telecom, KT and LG U+.

The ministry made assessments for three months from August this year on the speed of data in all areas nationwide where mobile networks are available. The speed of broadband LTE-Advanced networks was measured in 85 cities nationwide.

In major cities, SK Telecom provided the fastest broadband LTE-A service, while KT was the fastest in its Wi-Fi connections. LG U+ had the quickest data uploads.

The ICT Ministry’s data also studied data network connectivity in remote locations. KT showed the best connectivity on mountains with 98.86 percent data upload success, while SK Telecom was the best on major sea routes. LG U+ provided the best data connections on islands nationwide.

By service, broadband LTE-A services showed an average download speed of 114.4 megabytes per second, about 1.47 times faster than regular broadband LTE. But it’s a lot slower than what the three carriers advertised. LTE-A services were supposed to offer speeds of up to 225 megabytes per second.

SK Telecom recorded 116.9 megabytes per second, being the only carrier that provided faster broadband LTE-A service on average.

SK’s broadband LTE service was 21.2 megabytes per second. This was about 37 percent faster than the average from 2013, when the service was first launched, but was still very slow compared to the speed promised, 150 megabytes per second. All three mobile carriers provided the same download speed of 77.8 Mbps, while LG U+ had the fastest data upload speed on the broadband LTE network.

While Korean Wi-Fi networks showed an average data speed of about 26.9 Mbps for downloads, KT topped other two carriers with its Wi-Fi rapidity of 35.7 Mbps. SK Telecom’s Wi-Fi recorded a Wi-Fi speed of 32.1 Mbps, and LG U+ recorded 12.8 Mbps.

The 3G mobile network, which is rapidly losing customers to LTE, had an average speed of 0.5 megabytes per second, about 11 percent faster than last year. SK Telecom was the only carrier that provided faster download and upload speeds on the 3G data network.

The results will be available in January on the Smart Choice website operated by the private-sector Korea Telecommunications Operators Association.

BY KIM JI-YOON [jiyoon.kim@joongang.co.kr]

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