Mobile subscribers in South Korea are complaining about the quality of the nation’s 5G service, according to a report by the Financial Times.
Users say that the 5G services offered by the country’s three carriers have poor quality, slow connections and lack applications that use the new technology.
South Korean carriers SK Telecom, LG Uplus and KT initially launched 5G services in the country in April. As of the end of June, there were a total of 1.6 million 5G subscribers, according to the latest available data from the GSMA. The entity said that this figure represented 77% of the global base of 5G users. The U.K. ended June with 150,000 5G subscribers while the U.S. had approximately 100,000 subscribers at the end of the month.
A total of 62,641 5G base stations have been deployed as of June 21, which is only 7 % of the number of 4G stations across South Korea, according to data compiled by the Ministry of Science and ICT. Most of the 5G base stations were concentrated in the Seoul metropolitan area.
“The number of base stations falls short of demand,” the Financial Times quoted Kim Young-woo, of SK Securities as saying.”Operators need to expand their facility investment to quickly solve the problem,” he added.
“Although 100 days have passed since the commercial launch of 5G, many subscribers outside of the Seoul metropolitan area have been left out from the services,” Korean press reported Rep. Yoon Sang-jik of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party as saying.
“The government and mobile network operators should put concerted efforts to expand 5G coverage across the nation.”
The three Korean carriers launched limited 5G commercial services in December 2018 as part of an agreement with the ICT ministry to launch simultaneously to avoid excessive competition. The three mobile carriers initially launched the 5G service in some parts of Seoul.
In June 2018, South Korea completed a tender process through which it awarded spectrum in both the 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz bands. The government made available a total of 280 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz spectrum band and 2,400 megahertz in the 28 GHz band. The spectrum was divided into 28 blocks and 24 blocks.
Participant operators SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus had a 10-block cap per spectrum band. The telcos paid a total of 3.6183 trillion won ($3.3 billion) for the spectrum, 340 billion won higher than the starting price of 3.3 trillion won.
The 3.5 GHz band licenses covering a ten-year period and the 28 GHz band licenses a five-year term.
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