Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - South Korean group of mobile subscribers to file class action suit over quality of 5G services

South Korean group of mobile subscribers to file class action suit over quality of 5G services

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The number of 5G subscribers in South Korea reached 12 million last month, accounting for 17 per cent of all mobile plans. YONHAP NEWS AGENCY

South Korean group of mobile subscribers to file class action suit over quality of 5G services

A group of 5G mobile network subscribers in South Korea are pushing for a class action lawsuit against the country’s three telecom companies over the quality of the services.

Calling themselves “Victims of 5G”, the group aims to attract one million individuals to join the action to seek compensation of an amount not immediately known. The suit is to be filed through joint litigation platform called “Angry People”, it said.

“Nationwide establishment of 5G networks is delayed, which is essential for high-speed and high-quality 5G services, and in this we see a significant negligence of duty in the telcos,” the group in a statement, in reference to the nation’s three mobile carriers SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus.

The government has also played a part in this, they claimed.

Authorities were aware of the companies’ failure to provide services that match the price they charge on 5G subscribers, yet it allowed them to put off the rollout plans, they claimed.

In 2018, the Ministry of Science and ICT auctioned 3.5GHz and 28GHz frequency bands off to the three telecom providers. All three launched commercial 5G services using the 3.5GHz frequency, making Korea the world’s first to commercialise business-to-consumer 5G services in April 2019.

The number of 5G subscribers reached 12 million last month, accounting for 17 per cent of all mobile plans, according to data from the ministry.

The 5G subscribers have raised complaints that the average speed of 5G services is far slower than the telecom firms had promoted. They also take issue with the cost of the phone bills, which are about 20,000 won ($17.70) costlier than 4G bills.

In the second half of last year, the average download speed on 5G recorded 690 megabits per second, four times faster than 4G Long Term Evolution. The three mobile carriers had said their 5G services would be up to 20 times faster than 4G services.

Complaints with the service quality had been widely foreseen. Currently, all commercial 5G services in Korea are in “non-standalone” mode, using the 3.5GHz frequency. This means that due to a limited coverage of 5G stations, it automatically switches to 4G, when 5G connections are not reachable.

Some argue that a true 5G network service is only possible through the commercialisation of a stand-alone mode using the 28GHz frequency. But the ministry confirmed last year that the higher frequency will be developed only for business-to-business services, considering technical difficulties in commercialising the frequency.

There is consensus around the world that 28GHz frequency is only suitable for city centres and specific facilities like industrial complexes, according to industry officials.

“Due to its low diffraction, base stations should be built more closely to use the 28GHz band,” explained an official at one of the carriers. “Testing is currently underway, but B2C 5G service using 28GHz is expected to be reconsidered.”

“All three mobile carriers are currently providing 5G coverage maps for customers, which help them know where they can access 5G networks,” said the official. “The carriers are in the process of expanding the 3.5GHz 5G network across the country to provide wider coverage and better quality.”

KT, for example, provides details of its 5G coverage as part of efforts to raise transparency and clarity for its customers.

Across the nation, the company has built over 110,000 base stations for 5G. But about half of the base stations are set in Seoul and Gyeonggi areas.

By the end of this year, all three carriers are required to reach 15 per cent in establishing their nationwide network coverage.

THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MOST VIEWED

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • All Covid restrictions for inbound travellers lifted

    Cambodia has apparently taken the final step towards full reopening of the country without Covid-19 restrictions by removing all requirements for inbound travellers, who until now had to show health certificates indicating that they have tested Covid-19 negative in the past 72 hours as well as

  • Defence minister reaffirms Kingdom’s staunch support for One-China policy

    Minister of National Defence General Tea Banh has reaffirmed Cambodia’s unwavering support for the One-China policy. Tea Banh was speaking at the September 20 ceremonial handover of 117 vehicles and other military equipment donated by China’s defence ministry, held at Phnom Chumreay International Military Training

  • Thai Senate delegates in Cambodia to discuss anti-graft co-op

    A delegation from Thailand's Senate was in Phnom Penh on September 28 to meet their Cambodian counterparts to discuss strategies for fighting corruption and enhancing cooperation. The Thai delegates were from its Senate’s Committee on Studying and Inspecting Corruption, Misconduct and Strengthening Good Governance. They

  • Mushrooming borey projects and home financing – a cause for concern?

    A spurt in housing developments is typically a sign of a growing economy but underneath all that might lay some anxiety of credit growth as developers offer financing to buyers at higher rates, an activity the central bank identifies as ‘shadow banking’ Earlier this year,

  • Textile industry minimum wage now $200

    The official minimum wage for workers in textile-related sectors including garment, footwear, and travel goods for 2023 was pegged at $198, with Prime Minister Hun Sen stepping in to add $2 to the total, making it $200 per month. The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training made the announcement