MSIP publishes data on South Korean operator’s LTE base stations

14 Jul 2014

South Korea’s largest mobile network operator by subscribers has reportedly been overstating the number of base stations that is has rolled out, the Korea Times reports. Discrepancies between the numbers cited by SK Telecom (SKT) in its marketing and regulatory data has come to light after the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) and the Central Radio Management Office published the first ever official statistics regarding LTE infrastructure.

According the authorities, SKT had a total of 173,219 LTE-enabled base stations across the country, more than either of its rivals, but less than 210,000 it claimed to have last month when announcing that it was gearing up to introduce Long Term Evolution-Advanced (LTE-A) technology utilising carrier aggregation (CA), allowing it to offer end-users maximum theoretical download speeds of 225Mbps. Despite criticism regarding its apparent overstating, SKT was quick to defend its position, and was cited as saying: ‘We have some 210,000 base stations once we include smaller ones that help establish a better mobile network environment inside buildings or underground … When we reported to the government, we categorised a group of small stations in one area as a single station.’

Meanwhile, the market’s second largest cellco by subscribers KT reportedly boasts the largest number of LTE-Advanced sites, with 107,097 up and running, compared to 63,885 for SKT and 37,619 for LG Uplus. However, with KT said to have the fewest standard LTE base stations – 18,999 compared to the 109,224 and 108,905 operated by SKT and LG Uplus, respectively – it has the lowest combined total of 4G base stations in operation.