In South Korea, the network operator LG Uplus is the leader in a first 5G comparison test. The revealed a test of Root Metrics (PDF), which claims to have conducted a total of 16,306 tests for the report, visited 30 indoor locations and covered 1,252 kilometers. While Korea Telecom (KT) and SK Telecom are being equipped by Ericsson, Huawei is supplying the network technology for LG Uplus.
SK Telecom and KT, the country's two largest operators, announced in April 2019 that they would have the world's first 5G smartphone users. LG Uplus had already installed 18,000 5G base stations in Seoul and surrounding areas in April as well as in some major cities. The network operator announced to install 50,000 base stations in the first half of 2019.
In mid-June, the country's Department of Science and Information and Communications Technology announced that the South Korean operators had together exceeded the mark of one million 5G users.
Root Metrics tested the three mobile networks with the LG V50 ThinQ 5G smartphone in densely populated areas of downtown Seoul between June 28 and July 6, during test drives in suburban areas of the city and on the Seoul-Busan KTX line during the rush hours.
"The LG-Uplus network is among the South Korean operators with the best and most consistent speed performance", the authors of the study write in the Root Metrics report.
LG Uplus delivered the highest maximum 5G download data rate with 902.7 Mbps and the highest average download rate with 426.4 Mbps. In contrast, SK Telecom achieved a maximum 5G data rate of 638.7 Mbps and an average download speed of 286.9 Mbps. KT had the second fastest maximum download rate of 751 Mbps, but was the slowest mid-speed provider with only 163 Mbps.
"The lightning-fast 5G speed of LG Uplus, combined with its high reliability and low latency, gives the operator a competitive edge in the early stages of 5G deployment."explained Root Metrics.
The mean 5G latency for LG Uplus was 72 ms, compared to 159 ms in non-5G mode. KT reached 107 ms, SK Telecom only came to a latency of 195 ms.
However, the new 5G mobile standard is expected to provide 10 Gbps, even 20 Gbps in some applications, a very low latency of less than 1 millisecond and high availability. None of the providers has achieved this yet.