SEOUL, Dec. 27 (Korea Bizwire) – A new government report has revealed that South Korean LTE networks are significantly slower in rural areas compared to major cities.
According to the network quality evaluation released by the Ministry of Science and ICT and the National Information Society Agency on Tuesday, network speeds in rural areas were estimated to be around 40 percentage points slower than what internet users in cities can typically expect.
The significance of the speed gap is notable, as authorities saw average upload speeds go down by 18.6 percentage points after a higher proportion of internet users in rural areas were reflected in this year’s speed tests.
The average LTE upload speed test dropped to 34.04 Mbps this year, down 18.6 percent from 41.83 Mbps last year, while the download speed increased to 133.43 Mbps.
For this year’s wireless internet speed test, the number of users located in rural areas such as farming and fishing villages accounted for 50 percent of the total, while Wi-Fi speeds on subway trains were also better reflected.
“Although download speeds have improved thanks to the advanced carrier aggregation technology that has enabled 5-CA, upload speeds dropped due to the higher proportion of rural areas in the speed test, and the slower technological development that only achieved 2-CA in major cities last year,” the Ministry of Science and ICT said.
When broken down by telecom networks, SK Telecom boasted both the fastest upload and download speeds of 163.92 Mbps and 38.41 Mbps, respectively.
KT had the upper hand over LG Uplus when it came to download speeds, while LG Uplus showed a slightly faster upload speed on average.
Users also gave first-hand feedback from mobile evaluation apps, giving the test more accuracy.
The findings from the network speed tests will be made available next month on Smart Choice and the public data portal.
“South Korea’s LTE speeds are some of the fastest in the world, but continuing efforts are required to close the quality gap between cities and rural areas, and improve network services in underdeveloped areas. We’ll urge wireless carriers to provide users with accurate coverage information,” said Jeon Sung-bae, a senior official at the Ministry of Science and ICT.