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IHS Markit First Look Report Reveals LG U as Fastest Operator in South Korean 5G Rollout

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New Mobile Performance Report Shows Incredible Speeds on 5G Compared to LTE

RootMetrics by IHS Markit, the standard for mobile performance benchmarking, released the first in its series of 5G First Look Reports, discussing 5G performance by South Korean operators KT, LG U+, and SK Telecom. The company’s 5G First look reports offer insight into the world of 5G and how 5G networks perform from the consumer’s perspective. The new report shows that LG U+ held an edge over the competition in Seoul by delivering the fastest 5G speeds and lowest latency among all networks, while also providing outstanding 5G data reliability.

“As 5G networks take hold across the globe, consumers and enterprises alike are poised to enjoy much faster speeds and stronger reliability compared to what they experience on LTE networks today.”

Key takeaways
  • Each operator’s median download speeds on 5G were much faster than those on non-5G mode or LTE.
  • All three operators were on 5G during at least 42.2 percent of RootMetrics download tests.
  • LG U+ offered the most impressive combination of fast speeds, low latency and strong reliability among all three networks.
  • KT and LG U+ led the way with latency, with both operators’ 5G median download latency twice as fast as that recorded in non-5G mode.

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Operator highlights: all networks show dramatic speed improvements on 5G

During the early stages of 5G in South Korea, the results for LG U+ were a step above those of KT and SK Telecom, but all operators provided significantly faster speeds on 5G compared to non-5G mode. LG U+, for example, had an impressive 5G median download speed of 426.4 Mbps that would take only 12 seconds to download a 600MB television show. In contrast, downloading the same show at the operator’s non-5G mode median download speed of 96.1 Mbps would take closer to 51 seconds. LG U+ also delivered the fastest 5G maximum download speed at 902.7 Mbps, which indicates excellent potential for the operator’s 5G experience going forward.

Although KT delivered the slowest 5G median download speed across all networks at 163.0 Mbps, it would still only take about 30 seconds to download a television show at this speed. SK Telecom, meanwhile, delivered strong speeds that were faster than those of KT but not as fast as those of LG U+. At SK Telecom’s 5G median download speed of 286.9 Mbps, downloading a television show would take about 18 seconds, a notable improvement from the 42 seconds it would take to download the same show at SK Telecom’s non-5G mode median download speed of 115.3 Mbps.

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“Consumer data usage continues to grow at explosive rates and end users expect fast speeds wherever and whenever they use their smartphones. The 5G speeds we found in South Korea will make consumer data experiences much faster than ever before. But 5G is about more than just speed. It’s also about reliability and latency, and all three South Korean operators delivered promising results across the board, especially considering the 5G era has just begun,” said Francis Sideco, vice president, technology at IHS Markit. “As 5G networks take hold across the globe, consumers and enterprises alike are poised to enjoy much faster speeds and stronger reliability compared to what they experience on LTE networks today.”

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