This blog is by Jason Chung and Asha Hemrajani from Nokia Siemens Networks.
The pioneering work of the Korean operators, Korea Telecom, LG U+ and SK Telecom, is providing an example for other countries to follow. In 2012, South Korea achieved a number of ‘firsts’. It was the first country where all mobile operators offered commercial LTE services. It was the first and still the only country where all operators offered countrywide LTE coverage, and it was the first country where more than 30% of the people were LTE users. The country is also experiencing strong growth in the number of LTE subscribers, which has reached 20 million.
Now, South Korea is the first country where the government has assessed the quality of its LTE networks nationwide. The Korea Communications Commission (KCC) developed a detailed LTE assessment program for LTE network quality, which they implemented in late 2012 and early 2013.
Stringent methodology for LTE network quality assessment
To assess LTE network quality, the KCC has developed an aggregated Call Success Rate (CSR) indicator that covers the key areas of network quality and performance, including accessibility, retainability, integrity, mobility and usage. The results were based on metrics such as call setup and completion rates, call drop rates, defined throughput levels, and voice & data quality measures.
The KCC measured CSR in all the major cities and provinces across South Korea, in both uplink and downlink, in all three operator networks. The results were then translated into grades of “S” for excellent if the CSR was above 97.5%, “A” for very good if the CSR was between 95% and 97.5%, and so on, with the poorest results rated “D”.
Results demonstrate quality edge for Nokia Siemens Networks
Overall, the findings of the KCC report demonstrated high network quality in all three networks. Subscribers in the vast majority of cities and provinces enjoy excellent LTE network quality. There were a few cities and provinces, however, that received a lower rating of “A”.
Reflecting its commitment to quality, Nokia Siemens Networks analyzed the results city by city, province by province. As part of our analysis, we mapped LTE network quality to the LTE radio infrastructure and the vendors who supplied it. The results for the three vendors (who all have similar market shares), showed a clear quality advantage for Nokia Siemens Networks. These results are especially remarkable as Nokia Siemens Networks entered the mobile broadband business in Korea without a 2G/3G incumbency.
* All the networks in the urban areas covered by Nokia Siemens Networks were rated S/excellent.
* In one of Korea’s mountainous provinces, Nokia Siemens Networks outperformed the competition, achieving an S/excellent rating in uplink and an A/very good rating in downlink, while the competing network achieved A/very good for both uplink and downlink.
* In all other provinces, the networks supplied by Nokia Siemens Networks were rated S/excellent.
* According to the KCC report, the network quality degradation in both uplink and downlink occurred largely in networks supplied by our competitors, accounting for 89% of the population affected in downlink and a full 100% in uplink.
Without a doubt, South Korea is an LTE forerunner. Congratulations to all three operators on their excellent rankings in the KCC report!