Mobile Network Experience Report South Korea December 2021

South Korea

Mobile Network Experience Report
December 2021

Opensignal is the independent global standard for analyzing consumer mobile experience. Our industry reports are the definitive guide to understanding the true experience consumers receive on wireless networks.

Author
Ian Fogg VP Analysis

Key findings

All three operators have a Download Speed Experience of over 100 Mbps

SK telecom wins the award with a score of 141.9 Mbps. However, our users on all three operators saw average download speeds over 100 Mbps, with KT scoring 103.3 Mbps and LG U+ on 101.9 Mbps. These are extremely high Download Speed Experience results, compared to other global markets.

SK telecom holds onto the Video Experience award

Video Experience quantifies the experience of watching mobile video streams over cellular networks. The winning score of 76.1 for SK telecom is the only result that ranks as Excellent (75 or above). Both our KT and LG U+ users saw an experience that was Very Good (65<75) meaning that there were generally fast loading times and only occasional stalling but there was inconsistency across either users or video providers at different resolutions.

LG U+ wins Upload Speed Experience with 19.7 Mbps

Having a high average upload speed helps users to share photos or videos on social media or to send large file attachments by email. Our LG U+ users' score of 19.7 Mbps was narrowly ahead of second placed SK telecom's score of 19 Mbps, but KT was further behind this time with 15 Mbps.

SK telecom and LG U+ narrowly win Games Experience

The two joint winning operators have statistically tied scores of 88.8 for LG U+ and 88.4 for SK telecom on a 100-point scale. KT was just behind with a score of 87.1. Games Experience reflects the quality of the multiplayer mobile gaming experience when played across cellular networks. It is based on research into the the relationship between multiple technical parameters — which Opensignal measures at scale from real users — and users' perceived gaming experience.

Introduction

While 5G steals the limelight in South Korea, analysis of the overall experience of all South Koreans reveals some stunning results, especially on Download Speed Experience.

Two operators — LG U+ and SK telecom — share most of the national awards. SK telecom and LG U+ win two and three awards outright, respectively, and together jointly win Games Experience. In this report, KT comes away with just a single joint win in the national awards — it shares the 4G Coverage Experience award with SK telecom — but wins no regional awards outright, although it comes close in a number of categories.

Alongside the overall awards that reflect the experience of all South Korean users, Opensignal is including additional metrics that quantify the overall experience of 5G users. These differ from the 5G results in the companion 5G Experience report because these scores reflect the usage of 4G and 5G together, and the time 5G users spend connected to each technology, to reveal an overall result. By contract, the 5G results in the companion report reflect only the use of 5G technology.

Opensignal Awards Table

Mobile Experience Awards, South Korea
December 2021, South Korea Report
Video Experience
Games Experience
Voice App Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
4G Availability
4G Coverage Experience
Download Image
Mobile Experience Awards Winners
December 2021, South Korea
Video Experience
Voice App Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
4G Availability
Mobile Experience Awards Draws
December 2021, South Korea
Games Experience
4G Coverage Experience
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Overview

Click on metric labels below for a quick preview
Video Experience
in 0-100 points
KT
74.7
LG U+
72.3
SK telecom
76.1
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image

National Analysis

Video Experience

SK telecom wins the Video Experience award again. Video Experience quantifies the quality of video streamed to mobile devices by measuring real-world video streams over an operator's networks. The metric is based on an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) approach, built upon detailed studies which have derived a relationship between technical parameters — including picture quality, video loading time and stall rate — with the perceived video experience as reported by real people. To calculate video experience, we are directly measuring video streams from end-user devices and using this ITU approach to quantify the overall video experience for each operator on a scale from 0 to 100.

Video Experience
in 0-100 points
KT
74.7
LG U+
72.3
SK telecom
76.1
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Video Experience
Additional Metrics
in 0-100 points
Video Experience – 5G Users
77.9 (± 0.28) 75.8 (± 0.37) 79.1 (± 0.22)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | December 2021 | © Opensignal Limited
Video Experience – 5G Users in 0-100 points
78 (± 0.28)
76 (± 0.37)
79 (± 0.22)
Mobile Network Experience Report | December 2021 | © Opensignal Inc.

Games Experience

On multiplayer mobile gaming, two operators jointly win the award: LG U+ and SK telecom. Games Experience is built on several years of research quantifying the relationship between technical network parameters and the gaming experience as reported by real mobile users. These parameters include latency (round trip time), jitter (variability of latency) and packet loss (the proportion of data packets that never reach their destination). Opensignal measures these parameters from real users at scale.

Games Experience considers multiple genres of multiplayer mobile games to measure the average sensitivity to network conditions. Genres tested include massive online battle arena (MOBA) an example of which on mobile is Arena of Valor, and battle royale titles examples of which include PUBG, Garena Freefire and Fortnite.

Games Experience
in 0-100 points
KT
87.1
LG U+
88.8
SK telecom
88.4
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Games Experience
Additional Metrics
in 0-100 points
Games Experience – 5G Users
87.8 (± 0.39) 88.6 (± 0.46) 88.8 (± 0.29)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | December 2021 | © Opensignal Limited
Games Experience – 5G Users in 0-100 points
88 (± 0.39)
89 (± 0.46)
89 (± 0.29)
Mobile Network Experience Report | December 2021 | © Opensignal Inc.

Voice App Experience

When we analyze the real-time communications experience using popular Voice over IP (VoIP) apps, our LG U+ users had the best experience. As a result, LG U+ wins the Voice App Experience award.

Voice App Experience measures the quality of experience for over-the-top (OTT) voice services — examples include KakaoTalk, LINE, WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook Messenger — using a model based on an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) approach for quantifying overall voice call quality and a series of calibrated technical parameters. This model characterizes the exact relationship between real-world technical measurements collected at scale and users' perceived call quality. Voice App Experience for each operator is calculated on a scale from 0 to 100.

Voice App Experience
in 0-100 points
KT
83.8
LG U+
84.2
SK telecom
83.9
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Voice App Experience
Additional Metrics
in 0-100 points
Voice App Experience – 5G Users
83.8 (± 0.16) 84.2 (± 0.18) 84.3 (± 0.13)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | December 2021 | © Opensignal Limited
Voice App Experience – 5G Users in 0-100 points
84 (± 0.16)
84 (± 0.18)
84 (± 0.13)
Mobile Network Experience Report | December 2021 | © Opensignal Inc.

Download Speed Experience

Impressively our users saw average download speeds on all three operators over 100 Mbps. SK telecom wins the Download Speed Experience award with a score of 141.9 Mbps, and KT and LG U+ tie for second place with scores of 103.3 Mbps and 101.9 Mbps respectively.

Download Speed Experience
in Mbps
KT
103.3
LG U+
101.9
SK telecom
141.9
0 36.25 72.5 108.75 145
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
Additional Metrics
in Mbps
Download Speed Experience – 5G Users
236.0 (± 4.11) 244.0 (± 5.65) 303.6 (± 4.28)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | December 2021 | © Opensignal Limited
Download Speed Experience – 5G Users in Mbps
236 (± 4.11)
244 (± 5.65)
304 (± 4.28)
Mobile Network Experience Report | December 2021 | © Opensignal Inc.

Upload Speed Experience

LG U+ wins Upload Speed Experience again — but not by much. Its score of 19.7 Mbps is just ahead of the average upload speed seen by our SK Telecom users of 19 Mbps. KT came third with a score of 15 Mbps.

Upload Speed Experience
in Mbps
KT
15.0
LG U+
19.7
SK telecom
19.0
0 5 10 15 20
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
Additional Metrics
in Mbps
Upload Speed Experience – 5G Users
20.9 (± 0.32) 23.9 (± 0.43) 26.9 (± 0.35)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | December 2021 | © Opensignal Limited
Upload Speed Experience – 5G Users in Mbps
21 (± 0.32)
24 (± 0.43)
27 (± 0.35)
Mobile Network Experience Report | December 2021 | © Opensignal Inc.

4G Availability

South Korean users spend almost all of their time connected to a good quality network technology. The 4G Availability scores on each operator are near perfect: 98.6% using KT, 99.3% with SK telecom and a winning score of 99.8% using LG U+. 4G Availability quantifies the amount of time users spent connected to 4G or 5G.

4G Availability
% of time
KT
98.6
LG U+
99.8
SK telecom
99.3
0 25 50 75 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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4G Coverage Experience

All three operators also have nearly perfect scores for 4G Coverage Experience. SK telecom and KT jointly win with a score of 9.9 on a 10-point scale, with LG U+ fractionally behind with 9.8.

4G Coverage Experience metric is a measure of how mobile subscribers experience 4G coverage on an operator's network. Measured on a scale of 0-10, it analyzes the locations where customers of a network operator received a 4G signal relative to the locations visited by users of all network operators.

4G Coverage Experience
in 0-10 points
KT
9.9
LG U+
9.8
SK telecom
9.9
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Regional Analysis

Across five regions we see only LG U+ and SK telecom picking up outright wins. KT is limited to a number of joint wins.

In Sudogwon, LG U+ wins three awards outright for gaming, upload speeds and 4G Availability. SK Telecom wins both Video Experience and Download Speed Experience. The remaining award is shared by the two operators.

In the other regions, LG U+ and SK telecom both win two awards outright in Chungcheong, SK telecom wins one more than LG U+ in Jeolla and Gangwon. While in Gyeongsan SK telecom is two ahead.

By contrast, KT has six joint wins across thirty regional awards on offer this time. This result is far behind both LG U+ and SK telecom.

Select any region or city below to display individual breakdown

Chungcheong

Video Experience
in Chungcheong
in 0-100 points
KT
74.7
LG U+
72.2
SK telecom
75.9
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Games Experience
in Chungcheong
in 0-100 points
KT
88.9
LG U+
87.7
SK telecom
88.7
Download Image
Voice App Experience
in Chungcheong
in 0-100 points
KT
84.2
LG U+
84.3
SK telecom
84.2
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Chungcheong
in Mbps
KT
89.1
LG U+
86.6
SK telecom
130.0
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Upload Speed Experience
in Chungcheong
in Mbps
KT
13.2
LG U+
18.8
SK telecom
17.5
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4G Availability
in Chungcheong
% of time
KT
98.5
LG U+
99.9
SK telecom
99.5
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Gangwon

Video Experience
in Gangwon
in 0-100 points
KT
75.2
LG U+
71.5
SK telecom
76.6
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Games Experience
in Gangwon
in 0-100 points
KT
89.3
LG U+
89.4
SK telecom
90.4
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Voice App Experience
in Gangwon
in 0-100 points
KT
84.7
LG U+
84.4
SK telecom
84.3
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Download Speed Experience
in Gangwon
in Mbps
KT
96.2
LG U+
91.2
SK telecom
132.2
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Upload Speed Experience
in Gangwon
in Mbps
KT
14.5
LG U+
17.3
SK telecom
18.3
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4G Availability
in Gangwon
% of time
KT
98.8
LG U+
99.8
SK telecom
99.2
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Gyeongsan

Video Experience
in Gyeongsan
in 0-100 points
KT
74.3
LG U+
71.8
SK telecom
76.3
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Games Experience
in Gyeongsan
in 0-100 points
KT
86.7
LG U+
89.4
SK telecom
89.7
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Voice App Experience
in Gyeongsan
in 0-100 points
KT
84.0
LG U+
84.3
SK telecom
83.9
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Download Speed Experience
in Gyeongsan
in Mbps
KT
105.0
LG U+
87.8
SK telecom
126.2
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Upload Speed Experience
in Gyeongsan
in Mbps
KT
14.8
LG U+
16.3
SK telecom
18.3
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4G Availability
in Gyeongsan
% of time
KT
98.5
LG U+
99.8
SK telecom
99.2
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Jeolla

Video Experience
in Jeolla
in 0-100 points
KT
75.1
LG U+
72.0
SK telecom
76.0
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Games Experience
in Jeolla
in 0-100 points
KT
88.9
LG U+
88.1
SK telecom
90.2
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Voice App Experience
in Jeolla
in 0-100 points
KT
84.0
LG U+
84.4
SK telecom
84.0
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Download Speed Experience
in Jeolla
in Mbps
KT
85.0
LG U+
81.1
SK telecom
130.3
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Upload Speed Experience
in Jeolla
in Mbps
KT
13.5
LG U+
17.8
SK telecom
15.9
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4G Availability
in Jeolla
% of time
KT
98.8
LG U+
99.8
SK telecom
99.5
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Sudogwon

Video Experience
in Sudogwon
in 0-100 points
KT
75.0
LG U+
72.8
SK telecom
76.1
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Games Experience
in Sudogwon
in 0-100 points
KT
87.0
LG U+
89.0
SK telecom
87.9
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Voice App Experience
in Sudogwon
in 0-100 points
KT
83.8
LG U+
84.1
SK telecom
84.0
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Download Speed Experience
in Sudogwon
in Mbps
KT
108.9
LG U+
113.3
SK telecom
151.4
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Upload Speed Experience
in Sudogwon
in Mbps
KT
15.8
LG U+
21.5
SK telecom
19.9
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4G Availability
in Sudogwon
% of time
KT
98.6
LG U+
99.8
SK telecom
99.2
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Learn more

Opensignal measures the real-world experience of consumers on mobile networks in the places they live, work and travel.

We continually adapt our methodology to best represent the true experience of smartphone users. Therefore, comparisons of the results to past reports should be considered indicative only.

For every metric we calculate statistical confidence intervals indicated on our graphs. When confidence intervals overlap, our measured results are too close to declare a winner. In those cases, we show a statistical draw. For this reason, some metrics have multiple winners.

In our bar graphs we represent confidence intervals as boundaries on either sides of graph bars. In our supporting-metric charts we show confidence intervals as +/- numerical values.

More about Methodology

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For every metric we calculate statistical confidence intervals indicated on our graphs. When confidence intervals overlap, our measured results are too close to declare a winner. In those cases, we show a statistical draw. For this reason, some metrics have multiple operator winners.

In our bar graphs we represent confidence intervals as boundaries on either sides of graph bars.

In our supporting-metric charts we show confidence intervals as +/- numerical values.

Why confidence intervals are vital in analyzing mobile network experience

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