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Mobile 5G base stations clustered in major cities

While South Korea began commercial operations of fifth-generation cellular network services last week, there is still a long way to go for customers nationwide to benefit from the hyperspeed services. 

Rep. Byun Jae-il of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party said Sunday nearly 90 percent of the 5G base stations are currently located in the country’s capital city of Seoul, its surrounding area, and five metropolitan cities.

Citing data from the Ministry of Science and ICT, Byun asserted the statistics showed geographical gaps in 5G penetration rate. The data was released on April 5 when the general public could avail of the hyperspeed services with Samsung Galaxy’s S10 5G, according to the lawmaker.

“Given the country is in the initial stages of 5G commercialization, its service area is restricted,” Byun said in a press release. “In order to prevent confusion, the government should come up with more accurate information about areas where the 5G services are available.” 

5G subscription event by SK Telecom. Yonhap
5G subscription event by SK Telecom. Yonhap

Specifically, of the 85,261 5G base stations established in 17 cities and provinces as of April 5, 72,983 were located in the metropolitan cities of Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Gwangju, Daejeon and Ulsan, according to the lawmaker.

The lawmaker also came up with the geographical breakdown of 5G base stations classified by the country’s major mobile carriers, which have been engaging in fierce completion to build extensive networks.

The country’s biggest mobile carrier SK Telecom established about 80 percent of its 5G stations in Seoul and other metropolitan cities. Of the 21,203 stations that SKT has built, about 55 percent of them were located in Seoul and its surrounding area. 

KT, for its part, has established up to 22,645 5G base stations with about 64 percent located in Seoul and its neighboring area. Some 23 percent of stations were built in five metropolitan cities and 13 percent in other areas.

The concentration in Seoul was most vivid regarding county’s third-biggest mobile carrier LG Uplus. Among its 11,051 5G base stations, about 94 percent were established in Seoul and its surrounding metropolitan areas.