Think your LTE is fast? Koreans will have 300Mbps LTE-A this year

by: Bogdan PetrovanJanuary 20, 2014

Samsung Galaxy Round Hands On AA  (2 of 19)

By combining three distinct spectrum bands, two of Korea’s largest carriers will be able to offer LTE download speeds of up to 300Mbps by the end of the year.

SK Telecom and LG U Plus, the largest and third largest carrier in South Korea respectively, announced today that they will offer 300Mbps download speeds this year. Both companies claim they are the world’s first carrier to offer this type of service, even though customers will only get to try it in late 2014.

Both SK Telecom and LG U Plus make use of carrier aggregation, a technology part of the LTE-Advanced specification that combines multiple bands of spectrum to offer faster transfer rates. For instance, LG U Plus uses a 40MHz band at 2.6GHz, a 20MHz band at 800MHz, and a 20MHz band at 2.1GHz. By harnessing 3-band carrier aggregation technology, carriers can offer rates that are four times faster than the theoretical 75Mpbs offered by “regular” LTE.

An 800MB movie in just 22 seconds

According to SK Telecom, at the theoretical top speed of the new network, users will be able to download an 800MB movie in just 22 seconds. And it doesn’t stop here, as the company said it would pursue 4-band and 5-band aggregation in the future. In reality, speeds will probably be smaller due to various limitations, but still impressive nonetheless.

To benefit from these speeds, users will need a compatible smartphone. The current Snapdragon 800 SoC from Qualcomm only supports 2-band carrier aggregation, which enables speeds of up to 150Mpbs. The Snapdragon 805, expected in the market in the second half of the year, will enable 3-band carrier aggregation.

What about the rest of the world? For now, carriers in the Western markets are content with LTE, even if T-Mobile promised some LTE-A features by the end of 2013. It will probably take years for North America to catch up with Korea and other LTE-A pioneers.

It’s important to know that carrier aggregation is not the same with LTE-Advanced. Rather, carrier aggregation is just one of several techniques that enable higher transfer speeds on LTE-A. More nitty-gritty details in our LTE-Advanced overview here.

  • The first U.S carrier to launch LTE-A will get a TON of new customers!

    • Tim

      What would you use it for? even 4k streaming only needs 20mbps.

      • Chris Martinelli

        Even if you did get a full 300Mbps download speed it would be like putting a Lamborghini in a traffic jam on a muddy road… Pointless.

        • RanRu

          Shh… Logic doesn’t sell phones. Hype does. And “4 times faster” certainly qualifies.

    • smokebomb

      And then have a ton of pissed off customers when their batteries only last 4 hours in standby.

    • apianist16

      Verizon will be the first, I’ll bet. They already have pretty much the entire U.S. covered with LTE.

  • tocsin

    In Australia my home internet (adsl2+) is 10 Mbps and that’s pretty fast for aus

    • Dave

      yes it is i’m a 3Mbps (adsl) in outer Melbourne.

      • Jesus

        Damn you guys are lucky. Here in Sydney, i’m averaging 1-2mbps

        • Ben Jowett

          Here in Perth Telstra 500gbs Fibre = 30mbits Down and 2-3mbits Up.
          And slowdown is like 256kbits and 600kbits (up and down respectively)

          • Jesus

            well this just shows australia’s social problems – class difference.

          • Ben Jowett

            Or those who can put up with Telstra and their bull shit and expensive plans…
            They gave us 12gb on our first month and we were on slow down so quickly, because I have 2 brothers and we are multiplayer gamers lol ………

        • chambwe

          in zimbabwe we get 20kbps at its best ,and yu guyz are busy complaining

          • Jesus

            Chambwe, you guys need to stop worrying about internet. Worry about your government and own safety.

  • RanRu

    “An 800MB movie in just 22 seconds.”
    And a mere 80% of your battery. Then you have to delete it anyway because you have a device with no removable storage.

    • MadCowOnAStick

      but… it’s Korea! Samsung…

  • Rick Ramo

    Arrrrr, shiver me timber.

  • Jesus

    South Korea

  • Ben Jowett

    Here in Australia, I am in the top 88 % interwebz speed, and thats only get 40mbits and 2-3MBITS (according to speedtest) and its to a 14km away server! :O

    Down with Telstra!!!!!

    • tocsin

      That’s fricking fast for Aus i get 10 Mbps if im lucky

  • Arturo Raygoza

    gotta love Kim Jung il ;)

    • Teri

      But he’s got nothing to do with this…. -_-a

      • Arturo Raygoza

        notice the wink

  • Jesus

    It’s not “Koreans”.

    It’s people in South Korea, whether they are South Koreans or not. Foreigners included, don’t be racist.