OpenSignal reports on 5G Speeds and 4G LTE Experience in South Korea & Other Countries

Introduction:

South Korea wireless telcos have all deployed pre-standard versions of “5G,” based on 3GPP Release 15 NR NSA.  That relies on a “LTE anchor” for signaling, mobile packet core, etc.  Are those “5G” speeds significantly greater than 4G LTE Advanced Pro which AT&T claims is 5GE?

Opensignal has published what it says is  the first “real analysis” of 5G download speeds as of June 20, 2019.  Their latest report (June 2019) is on  the performance of various 4G LTE wireless carriers and devices in South Korea.

5G Speeds in South Korea:

The market research firm reveals that the average 5G download speeds in South Korea (for the Samsung S10 5G and LG Electronics V50 ThinQ 5G) is 111.8 Mbps (see illustrations below), or 48% faster than comparable recent 4G smartphones, and 134% faster than other 4G LTE phones.

While those average 5G speeds outpace what 4G devices obtain, Opensignal’s results show that those averages track well behind the maximum capabilities supported by 5G in South Korea.  The vast majority of South Korean 5G smartphone users currently have either the Samsung S10 5G or LG V50 smart phone. Therefore, we compared these 5G users with owners of 4G flagship smartphone from those two brands released in 2018 and 2019, this includes: Samsung S9, S9+, Note 9, S10e, S10, S10+ and  LG G7 range, V40, and G8.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Opensignal lists maximum 5G download speeds of 1.2 Gbit/s in the U.S. and 988 Mbit/s in South Korea.

“While 1.2 Gbps is the maximum (download) speed experienced by Opensignal users in real-world conditions, Opensignal has seen speeds as high as 1.5 Gbps in the U.S. using our software but in test conditions that do not reflect the real-world experience.”

Currently, 5G smartphone users connect to both a 4G spectrum band and a (3GPP Release 15) 5G New Radio (NR) band simultaneously in what is called Non-Standalone Access (NSA) mode. Effectively, the system is using 5G for raw download bandwidth, but uses 4G for other network functions. When operators launch services based on Standalone Access, 5G smartphones will be able to connect exclusively to a 5G NR signal and latencies should decrease significantly, improving the experience for consumer applications such as online multiplayer games like Fortnite or PUBG, as well as internet-based voice communication like FaceTime, Tango, WhatsApp, KakaoTalk, LINE, etc.  Opensignal expects the experience of 5G users to change during the course of 2019 as 5G’s coverage improves and vendors resolve initial 5G problems.

While there is a significant increase in the average download speeds experienced by 5G smartphone users, both upload speeds and latency — a measure of the responsiveness of the network — are similar between 4G smartphone users and 5G smartphone users. This upload and latency finding is what Opensignal would expect at this early stage of the 5G era because initial 5G technology does not yet seek to improve either characteristic.

As vendors fix 5G teething issues and refine their solutions, peak and average 5G speeds will improve. And, while some 5G frequency bands are not available in particular countries yet – for example 3.5Ghz in the U.S., mmWave in Europe – they will be over the next few years and experience gained from other countries will help carriers improve these later 5G roll outs.

4G LTE Speeds in South Korea and other countries:

South Korea was the only country where smartphone users enjoyed average mobile Download Speeds over 50 Mbps, although Norway was close behind with 48.2 Mbps. Then there was a bit of a drop in speeds to the next two countries, Canada and the Netherlands, where OpenSignal measured Download Speed Experience at just over 42 Mbps. The remaining six of the top 10 markets scored in the 33-40 Mbps range. The global average score of the 87 countries analyzed was 17.6 Mbps — barely a third of the top score.

Canada’s impressive third place is little surprise. Users experienced over 35 Mbps in Download Speed Experience, while speeds of over 60 Mbps weren’t uncommon in the country’s biggest cities.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

4G LTE Mobile Experience in South Korea:

OpenSignal said there was a wide variety of of their metrics in Download Speed Experience, with average speeds ranging from over 50 Mbps to less than 2 Mbps. There were 13 countries with Download Speed Experience scores over 30 Mbps, while 35 of the 87 markets measured fell into the 10-20 Mbps range, and 20 scored under 10 Mbps.

For 4G Availability, LG U+ achieved a near-perfect score.  All three South Korean wireless operators were able to deliver a 4G signal to their users more than 95% of the time, putting them among the global elite in 4G reach. LG U+ went further. Its 4G Availability score of 99.5% means that there was practically no instance where our users couldn’t find a 4G connection during our data collection period.

South Korea rates highly in Video Experience. U+ and SK telecom both landed in the Very Good range (65-75 in our 100-point scale) in Video Experience, while KT was less than a point shy of achieving the same rating. That indicates that the consumer Video Experience in South Korea is commendable, exhibiting short load times and little stalling during playback. But South Korea’s operators didn’t score as highly in Video Experience as operators in many other countries, despite their superiority in most of our other metrics. Extremely fast speeds and ubiquitous 4G reach don’t always translate into an Excellent consumer Video Experience.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Conclusions:

Opensignal believes that these early results will improve and change as 5G matures. The firm notes that early 5G networks, like those in South Korea, use the non-standalone 5G spec (3GPP Release 15 NR NSA), which relies on the 5G data plane for downloads, but utilizes 4G LTE for control plane functions.

Opensignal says that average speeds will improve as standalone 5G is deployed and more 5G frequency bands are used.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

References:

https://www.opensignal.com/blog/2019/06/20/5g-smartphone-users-experience-1118-mbps-average-download-speed

https://www.opensignal.com/reports/2019/06/southkorea/mobile-network-experience

https://www.opensignal.com/sites/opensignal-com/files/data/reports/global/data-2019-05/the_state_of_mobile_experience_may_2019_0.pdf

https://www.lightreading.com/mobile/5g/average-5g-speeds-in-south-korea-fall-well-behind-maximums-opensignal-finds-/d/d-id/752313?

 

 

8 thoughts on “OpenSignal reports on 5G Speeds and 4G LTE Experience in South Korea & Other Countries

  1. OpenSignal: No country manages to break the 30ms Latency Experience milestone In only 13 of the 87 countries we rated our users averaged Latency Experience scores under 40 milliseconds, while none scored under 30ms. One continent dominated our Latency Experience analysis, with six European countries in our top 10. 5G’s designers target much improved latency as one of their goals. That low latency has yet to be realized and won’t even be spec’d till 3GPP Release 16 is completed in early 2021!

    https://www.opensignal.com/sites/opensignal-com/files/data/reports/global/data-2019-05/the_state_of_mobile_experience_may_2019_0.pdf

  2. 5G will substantially improve the mobile internet. LTE is currently the fastest mobile technology available, supporting peak data rates of up to 300 megabits per second (Mbit/s). Even after the introduction of 5G LTE will still be available for consumers. Speed is the benchmark for wireless network performance.

  3. How much of a forklift upgrade will be required a wireless carriers to deploy IMT 20/20 standards-based 5G?

  4. Great article! Many countries are currently testing 5G. A full launch of the first real 5G networks is planned no earlier than 2020. Most likely, this will happen in the Asia region. As for Australia, the concept of creating and developing 5G networks will be approved in the first quarter of 2019. By the end of 2019, frequency ranges will be specified. By the end of 2020, the first pilot projects for the implementation of the fifth generation network will be launched.

    Thus, the wide spread of new 5G technology can be expected no earlier than in 3-4 years.

    Here is a quote from Wikipedia:

    “The development of the technology has stoked fear that 5G radiation could have adverse health effects, often characterized as conspiracy theory.In April 2019, the city of Brussels in Belgium blocked a 5G trial because of radiation laws.In Geneva, Switzerland, a planned upgrade to 5G was stopped for the same reason.The Swiss Telecommunications Association (ASUT) has said that studies have been unable to show that 5G frequencies have any health impact”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5G

  5. Real world 5G not ready for primetime in 2019, By Chris Duckett for Null Pointer

    No killer use case and suspect speed increases means it’s best to wait a while before joining the 5G bandwagon.

    “If reports of a 5G gap are true, operators in markets facing Huawei restrictions could theoretically see higher equipment spending or delays in 5G implementation. But given the lack of value-added, 5G-ready use case applications, our forecast for 5G investment and customer appetite is bearish, so any incremental increase cost or delay should be nonmaterial to the ratings,” S&P said.

    The ratings agency further stated that slowing smartphone uptake, combined with 5G rollouts occurring at a “restrained pace” until telcos figure out how to make money from it, is minimising any ill-effects from shutting out Huawei in certain markets.

    To sum up the view of S&P: The 5G emperor in 2019 has very few clothes.

    https://www.zdnet.com/article/real-world-5g-not-ready-for-primetime-in-2019/

  6. South Korea:

    The Republic of (South) Korea announced for the goal of the world’s first commercialization in February 2018 and finished auction for 5G Spectrum in Jun. 2018 and certified 5G base station equipment in September 2018 and launched 5G service using mobile routers first in December 2018.
    The new milestone of 1 million 5G subscribers was reached on 10th June 2019, 69 days after Korea became the first country in the world to officially launch 5G commercial services on April 3, 2019.

    Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) announced the 3rd plan (from 2019 to 2023) on January 25, 2019. The master plan for radio waves promotion is mid- and long-term spectrum policy for every 5 years. The potential additional candidate bands for 5G are divided into two parts, below 6 GHz bands and above 24 GHz bands.

    (Band below 6 GHz)
    – 2 300 2 390 MHz (former WiBro service band)
    – Adjacent band(s) with the 3.5 GHz band (e.g. 3.4-3.42 GHz and 3.7-4.2 GHz, portions thereof)
    – Portion(s) of 1 452 1 492 MHz band
    – If necessary, prepare supplementary supply plan such as 700 MHz and 2.5 GHz band etc.
    (Band above 24 GHz) To secure additional 2 GHz bandwidth, Korea is considering the availability of equipment/terminals and WRC-19 results
    Table Planned schedule
    ‘19 ‘20 ‘21 ‘22 ‘23
    5G Allocation 2.3 GHz band Adjacent band(s) with 3.5 GHz band 1.4 GHz band Bands above 24 GHz
    Re-allocation
    (2G-4G) Existing bands

    5G+ Strategy
    MSIT and nine other related ministries jointly announced the “5G+ strategy” at the “Korean 5G Tech-Concert” on April 8.
    The vision of 5G+ strategy is realization of innovative growth through 5G+ and the goal is achieving 180 trillion won in the production of 5G+ strategic industry by 2026 (15% of the global market share)
    The Korean government is planning to foster 15 5G-based “strategic industries” to create 600 000 jobs and export $73 billion worth of goods and services by 2026.

    The 15 industries consist of five “Key services” and 10 “Key industries”. The five key services include immersive content, smart factory, autonomous vehicles, smart city and digital health care, while the 10 key industries include network device, next-generation smart phone, AR·VR Device, wearable device, intelligent CCTV, future drone, connected robot, 5G V2X, information security and edge computing.
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………
    5G frequency allocation in Japan:
    Toward the launch of 5G in 2020, MIC (Ministry of Internal affairs and Communications) allocated frequency for 4 operators.
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………
    China (People’s Republic of):
    On 6th June, MIIT of China issued 5G commercial licenses to four major operators, which are China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Broadcasting Network.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*

 
 

 

Recent Posts