Seoul concentrates 44% of the total 5G base stations in Korea

South Korea ended July with 25.1 million subscribers in the 5G segment

Nearly half of 5G base stations in South Korea are concentrated in the greater Seoul area, while other regions in the country are lagging behind in terms of the deployment of base stations, local press reported.

Independent Representative Park Wan-joo cited data from the the Ministry of Science and ICT, stating that about 44% of South Korea’s 5G wireless base stations in the 3.5 GHz frequency band are established in the Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi areas.

Considering that a 3.5 GHz base station can cover an area with a radius of 1.3 to 1.4 kilometers, the number of 5G base stations established in Seoul is more than 85 times higher than the minimum needed to provide 5G service, according to the report.

In contrast, the number of 5G base stations deployed in South Jeolla Province stood at 6,571 units, less than the minimum requirement of 8,820 units.

North Gyeongsang and Gangwon provinces also have fewer 5G base stations than the minimum required, according to the report.

In relation to the base stations operating in the 28 GHz frequency for industrial use, SK Telecom and KT have deployed 96% of their base stations in the greater Seoul area, compared to 59% for LG Uplus.

South Korea ended July with 25.1 million subscribers in the 5G segment, according to the latest available data from the Ministry of Science and ICT.

5G accounted for 33.3% of all mobile subscriptions in the country. However, the technology accounted for 72.4% of the overall online traffic.

Meanwhile, 4G LTE accounted for 62.5% of all mobile subscriptions in South Korea and 27.6% in terms of overall online traffic.

In June 2018, the ICT ministry completed an auction for 5G frequencies in which local carriers SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus secured spectrum to launch 5G services in the Asian nation.

SK Telecom and KT each won 100 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz band while LG Uplus had obtained a bloc of 80 megahertz of spectrum.

In July, LG Uplus secured an additional 20 megahertz of spectrum to use for 5G. The Ministry of Science and ICT had said it would allocate the 3.4-3.42 GHz frequency band to LG Uplus, in addition to the 3.42 to 3.5 GHz spectrum that the telecom company bought in 2018.

LG Uplus had asked the Korean government last July for an additional 20 megahertz of spectrum to boost its 5G offerings.

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