KT to launch 1Gbps LTE service this week

South Korea SK Telecom KT LG

Various reports have claimed that KT, South Korea’s second largest mobile player, is ready to launch an LTE network capable of achieving more than 1Gbps download speeds. The service will be made available this week.

The announcement sees the launch of an LTE network significantly faster than any existing LTE-A service available globally, and the telco claims it could hit a peak speed of 1.17Gbps. In context, 1.17Gbps is roughly 15 to 20 times faster than existing LTE speeds and roughly three times faster than the 450mbps speeds being achieved by tri-band LTE-A.

KT claims that users on the Giga-LTE network would be able to download an 18GB Ultra HD 4K movie in 126 seconds and 3 GB of music in 21 seconds. Its upload speeds would be at least 10 times faster than tri-band LTE-A.

Giga-LTE will be an enormous leap towards the 5G era, and KT is preparing for a commercial launch this week. Samsung Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge users will be able to update their handset’s software and access the mega speeds from tomorrow.  KT has apparently been working on the service with Samsung since September last year.

A combination of wifi hotspots and mass rollout of LTE base-stations would provide the Giga-LTE service in densely populated urban areas. KT said that 200,000 LTE base stations will be deployed and 140,000 GiGA wifi hotspots will be deployed across the country.

While there’s been no word on when SK or LG U+ will be launching competing services, the early win KT’s achieved in being first to market will surely help it grab back some market share from SK, which currently leads the market. According to Ovum’s WCIS, SK Telecom currently dominates the Korean market with 28.4 million subscribers, 17.4m of which are on LTE, with KT sitting in second place with 17.5m subscribers, 11.4m of which are on LTE.

Achieving mobile broadband speeds the western world can only dream of emphasises the dominant position of Korea in the mobile industry, while simultaneously highlighting how far behind Europe and the USA are in developing mobile broadband that can genuinely be considered as next generation.

4G LTE speeds

Visit the world’s leading LTE conference and exhibition – LTE World Summit 2015 – in Amsterdam on 23-25 June.


  • Samsung Electronics

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