The 5G Experience in South Korea’s Cities

For the first time, Opensignal has analyzed the experience of our 5G users across the three largest cities in South Korea, comparing the results on each major mobile operator. For each of the 5G measures, we have looked at the average real-world experience of our users, which makes the extremely high speeds we have seen even more impressive. Previously, we’ve seen South Korean users’ average 5G speeds were 5.6 times faster than 4G speeds. But in this new analysis of South Korea’s cities we see real-world 5G speeds that are even faster than national 5G speeds.

In Seoul, Incheon and Busan we saw the average 5G Download Speed is well in excess of 300 Mbps on all three mobile operators. We saw much closer competition between the operators on 5G here than we saw in their overall mobile experience scores in our last South Korea report .

In the largest city, Seoul, LG U+ users had the highest average 5G Download Speed with 363.7 Mbps which is a statistical tie with SK telecom due to overlapping confidence intervals. KT users saw 5G speeds only slightly lower at 329.3 Mbps than LG U+ and SK telecom users. The difference between the highest 5G Download Speed and lowest is just 10.4% compared with a 43.5% difference in the national Download Speed Experience result in our last country report.

In the third largest city Busan, the fastest average 5G Download Speed our users saw was using SK telecom with 374.9 Mbps, although the confidence intervals mean the result is statistically tied with results in Seoul and Incheon as well as with the speed KT’s Busan users experienced. Similarly, in Incheon there is a very tight result: our users on all three operators saw a statistical tie for 5G Download Speed.

The time our 5G users spend connected to 5G — 5G Availability — is high in South Korea’s cities compared with other countries. In each city, our users connected to 5G over one fifth of the time. In Seoul, on both SK telecom and LG U+, our users connected over 30% of the time. But again, due to our confidence intervals, the results for 5G Availability in Seoul for SK telecom and LG U+ was a statistical tie.

In both Incheon and Busan, our SK telecom users enjoyed the highest 5G Availability with scores of 30.8% and 28.9% respectively. LG U+ and KT users still see 5G Availability scores of more than 20% in both cities, and also tie for second place. 

With the 5G experience in South Korea continuing to improve, and more and more users switching to 5G handsets, Opensignal will continue to analyze the real-world 5G experience. The ongoing flow of analytics data from real smartphone users provides a unique and comprehensive view of the market. Additionally, because Opensignal uses the same methodology in every country, it is straightforward to compare the results Opensignal sees in South Korea with other 5G markets around the world.