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THE INVESTOR
December 13, 2019
Big Reunion

Mobile & Internet

S. Korea mobile carriers admit shaky 5G network in early stage

  • PUBLISHED :April 21, 2019 - 16:05
  • UPDATED :April 21, 2019 - 16:29
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With complaints increasing among local users as to the quality of the fifth-generation cellular network, the country’s mobile carriers have admitted their services failed to meet consumer expectations, pledging improved operations.

SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus have each publicly acknowledged their 5G networks had issues in delivery as some clients have been complaining their services are not as speedy and secure as they were initially advertised.




Faced with criticism ranging from low speeds to poor connectivity since the launch of 5G network services earlier this month, the mobile carriers’ chiefs have pledged to improve their services with wider coverage and faster speeds.

“We have to be humble in accepting the consumers’ complaints about our shortcomings during the initial stage,” LG Uplus Chairman Ha Hyeon-hoe said on April 21.
 
“It is time to focus our efforts to achieve the best quality of 5G network.”

The first to pledge better service was SK Telecom, whose chief Park Jung-ho said in an emergency executive meeting on April 10, “We must gravely listen to the feedback from our customers on all areas including 5G’s coverage, speed, contents and after-service, to make our service perfect.”

On April 17, during a parliamentary hearing, KT’s chief Hwang Chang-gyu also accepted criticism, saying he was well aware of complaints and that all employees were working on improving 5G’s quality.

Consumers here have complained of difficulties in accessing the 5G network even in Seoul and the surrounding metropolitan area. Some 5G smartphone users have reported malfunctions in the transition between 5G and 4G, or Long Term Evolution.

The country’s smartphone makers also suffered from glitches in the defective networks. While Samsung Electronics has released a series of software updates for the Galaxy S10 5G, LG Electronics has announced it will delay the launch of its first 5G-powered smartphone, the V50 ThinQ.

In order to address consumer complaints, the government said Saturday it will hold a weekly meeting with mobile carriers and phone manufacturers. The first meeting is to take place on April 21 to discuss how to resolve network glitches and achieve nationwide coverage.

South Korea has pledged to establish a full-fledged nationwide 5G network within three years. Earlier this month, President Moon Jae-in said the country will spend more than 30 trillion won ($26.4 billion) creating a 5G-friendly business environment by 2022. 

According to Rep. Byun Jae-il of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, as of April 3 nearly 90 percent of Korea’s 5G base stations were located in Seoul, the surrounding area and five metropolitan cities.

By Yeo Jun-suk / The Korea Herald (jasonyeo@heraldcorp.com)

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