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South Korean Wireless Carriers Deploying Gigabit Wireless 5G, Says IHS Markit

Masha Abarinova

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WASHINGTON, August 1, 2019 – While U.S. carriers struggle to unveil real-world deployments with truly high-speed 5G deployments, South Korean carriers have demonstrated gigabit deployments with 5G, according a Wednesday webinar by the consulting firm HIS Markit.

“The promise and hope of gigabit technology is finally here with 5G,” said Kevin Hasley, IHS Markit executive director of performance benchmarking.

In South Korea, IHS Markit analyzed several components of 5G, including download speeds, latency, availability and reliability. Tested locations consisted of not only metropolitan Seoul but also some surrounding rural areas. The purpose of these tests, said Hasley, was to determine if 5G held up to the connectivity hype of its predecessors, 4G and LTE.

SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus are the three major Korean network carriers. Looking at how far their 5G coverage extended, IHS Markit found that 5G networks operated most efficiently in highly dense venues such as high-rise buildings. However, there was no significant difference between indoor and outdoor 5G speeds.

KT’s 5G plan, said Hasley, offers unlimited data with no speed cap to compete with rival carrier networks. Their efficiency is made possible by deploying beyond the standard millimeter wave spectrum.

The significantly improved speed of KT provides a solid foundation on which other countries can build upon, he said.

Researchers also tested 5G capabilities by performing the daily mobile activities of consumers. In an automated fashion, IHS Markit tested 5G within the smartphones that consumers typically use.

By benchmarking smartphones, Hasley said, IHS Markit sought to remove any negative effects that the devices may have on the 5G network. However, since all smartphones have different configurations, there is no singular device that is best suited for 5G operability.

It is important that network and device updates have a positive effect on consumer experience, he said.  If 5G can provide high latency internet speeds, then it could likely supplement future technological advancements such as virtual reality simulation.

By fully immersing the viewers, 5G can massively improve the quality of online gaming and similar activities, he said. Any other network attempting the same actions would be unable to sustain the high latency.

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