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Seoul top city in East Asia with 4G availability of nearly 98%

At OpenSignal we are currently in the process of boosting our coverage of East Asia, having launched reports in the last six months on Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. We recently published the first in a series of blog posts comparing key cities in East Asia, which looked at 4G speeds, and found Seoul and Singapore were the fastest. In the second of our blogs on East Asia cities, we have measured the 4G availability of our users in 12 of the big economic centers in the region.

Each of the 12 cities we analyzed represents a key business and economic hub in their respective countries. We examined data from a 90-day test period between March and May, and found the following results for 4G availability.

Seoul topped our table with a remarkable 4G availability score of 97.9%. This came as little surprise as not only did the city come top in our analysis of 4G speeds in East Asia cities, but South Korea was the leading country for LTE reach in our most recent global State of LTE report. In that same report, the second place in our global 4G availability ranking was held by Japan – and its capital Tokyo took silver in our analysis of East Asia cities. The city was close behind the leader Seoul with a 4G availability score of 96.3%, and the two leaders were some way ahead of the next city in our measurements. Third place went to Bangkok which scored 92.1% in our 4G availability metric, followed by Hong Kong which just tipped the 90% milestone.

Of the other cities we measured, five were in the 80%-90% range for LTE reach. One of the notable success stories in this bracket was Yangon, where we measured 4G availability of 82.8%. This is particularly impressive when you consider that 4G services were only launched in Myanmar within the last two years. Yangon also placed highly in our comparison of 4G speeds in East Asia cities, and while this can be partly explained by relatively low LTE user numbers in the market, achieving a 4G reach of over 80% is laudable.

Seoul's leading score of near-98% 4G availability is among the highest we have ever measured – but it is unlikely to get much better. We can expect to see measurements pass 98% and possibly even approach 99% in the most connected cities in the next few years, but it is doubtful whether we will ever see a score of 100%. We recently took a look at 4G availability in London to answer the question of whether operators will ever be able to achieve complete LTE reach and concluded that "notspots" (areas of limited or no mobile coverage) will never go away completely as they’re part of the nature of building cellular networks.

What's your experience of 4G availability in East Asia’s big cities? Are you experiencing the same high levels of LTE reach as we have measured? Please let us know in the comments section below.