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Over 90% of Koreans to have 5G access by 2019: ICT Ministry

Govt dismisses rumor that it intentionally lowered 4G speed to attract 5G subscribers

 The South Korean government said Wednesday it will expand coverage of the fifth-generation wireless network, with a goal of providing the service to more than 90 percent of the population by the end of this year.

A day after the meeting with mobile carriers Tuesday, the Ministry of Science and ICT said the carriers had pledged to build a total of 230,000 5G base stations in 85 cities, covering 93 percent of Korea’s total population of around 51 million.

According to the ministry, 50,512 5G stations have been established as of Monday since the country launched the network’s commercial service on April 5. However, most are concentrated in Seoul, its surrounding areas and other metropolitan cities.

In addition to expanding 5G infrastructure to rural areas, the government said it will make the network available at indoor and underground facilities. The mobile carriers vowed to build 5G equipment on every line on the Seoul subway and at 120 large buildings nationwide.  


To ensure the hyperspeed of the 5G network, the government said it will support the mobile carriers’ efforts to improve 5G technology, such as “beamforming” for faster data delivery and dual connectivity for 5G and 4G Long Term Evolution.

Meanwhile, the government has dismissed rumors that it intentionally lowered the speed of 4G LTE in order to attract 5G subscribers. The mobile carriers’ websites have been peppered with complaints from subscribers saying they have suffered lower 4G speeds since the 5G rollout.

“Theoretically and realistically, it is highly unlikely that LTE speed was lowered intentionally,” the ministry said in a press release. “We believe it might have occurred just temporarily. Through software updates and other measures, we have addressed the issue promptly.”