South Korea’s second largest mobile player KT has introduced what it says is the world’s fastest mobile service by combining LTE and WiFi networks to offer a theoretical maximum download speed of 1.17Gb/s.
A KT representative told Mobile World Live that with 200,000 LTE base stations and 140,000 GiGA WiFi hotspots across the country, the majority of the population has access to the new GiGA LTE service. The person said it was difficult to give a percentage of population coverage, since GiGA WiFi is focused on high-population areas and public spaces like airports and shopping centres.
More than 70 per cent of KT’s subscribers have 4G plans, according to GSMA Intelligence.
KT, which has a 33 per cent market share, said it has worked over the last nine months with Samsung to develop the GiGA LTE technology. LTE customers with Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge models will be able to use the service after updating their device firmware tomorrow, the company said.
Another five to six Samsung handsets compatible with GiGA LTE as well as some LG Electronics models will be released in the latter half of the year.
Oh Sung-mok, head of KT’s network division, claimed the service is two or three years ahead of its time, the Korea Herald reported. The 1.17Gb/s GiGA LTE service is 15 times faster than LTE and four times faster than tri-band LTE-Advanced, KT said at a press event. Its upload speed is 10 times faster than tri-band LTE-A.
The launch of GiGA LTE services comes a year after KT chairman Hang Chang-gyu teased the idea of a gigabyte-speed mobile network.
Domestic rivals SK Telecom and LG Uplus also announced today plans to combine LTE and WiFi networks to boost data speeds, the Herald said, but no specifics were available.