• United States
Samira Sarraf
Regional Editor for Australia and New Zealand

South Korea has the fastest 5G download speed in Asia-Pacific

Mar 17, 20223 mins

South Korea shows above-average 5G speeds while countries in Southeast Asia that adopted 5G later come close and fare better than countries with more access in some speed measures.

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Credit: Shutterstock

South Korea has an above-average 5G mobile download speed, with the highest 5G download speed, 5G peak download speed, and 5G upload speed across Asia-Pacific, according to recent findings from consultancy Opensignal.

South Korean download speeds reached 438Mbps, while Taiwan, which came second in all measures, reached 263Mbps. Taiwan shares its second place for 5G download speeds with New Zealand, as Opensignal considers 263Mbps and New Zealand’s 253Mbps a statistical tie. For peak download speeds, Taiwan reached 614Mbps and Australia 597Mbps, also considered a statistical tie. South Korea reached a whopping 866Mbps in peak download speeds.

These results do not account for one important factor: that countries in Southeast Asia have only limited availability of new 5G spectrum. According to GSMA’s 2019 Roadmap for C-Band spectrum, the Philippines was the first country in Southeast Asia to assign the 3.5GHz 5G band, while Myanmar and Singapore gained access much later; Brunei will only get access in 2022 or later.

As a result, Singapore comes at No. 5 of the top 10 countries for 5G download speeds at 198Mbps, and the Philippines came in at No. 7 at 136Mbps. Both countries are in the same position for 5G peak download speeds, at 503Mbps and 408Mbps, respectively.

According to Opensignal, Singapore benefits from having a compact urban geography where 5G rollout should be easier.

Indonesia, where operators only started rolling out 5G in middle 2021, is at the bottom of the top 10 for both download and peak download speeds, but it has a better output in 5G upload speed at 19Mbps, ahead of Australia, the Philippines, and Japan.

Video experience over 5G was also measured with a big focus on streaming. Taiwan scored a higher user-experience rating, with New Zealand in second place. South Korea maintains the lead when it comes to voice app experience, followed by Indonesia.

Due to perasive 5G accessibility, South Korean users spent 30.7% of time with an active 5G connection. “South Korean users also saw 5G service in approximately two thirds of the locations they visited, which led to a 5G reach score of 6.6 on a 10 point scale,” the Opensignal report said. “Impressively, this is ahead of much smaller markets such as Singapore (13% and 3.5) and Hong Kong (23.3% and 6.3.” Opensignal noted that Hong Kong’s score of 6.3 for 5G reach is statistically tied with South Korea’s 6.6.

Due to their geographies, it is more challenging to deploy mobile networks in Australia and the Philippines, but nonetheless both conutries rate well in availability. Australia, despite its wide-open spaces, scored 12.2% for 5G availability and 3.6 for 5G reach; the Philippines, despite its numerous islands, scored 11.1% and 3.7.