In addition to delicious food and infectious K-pop, South Korea is also home to some of the fastest — if not the fastest — Internet connections on the planet. While U.S. LTE connections get slower with all of the clogged airwaves, South Korea is preparing for even faster LTE by the end of the year.
There are currently three different kinds of common LTE. You've got your regular basic LTE, which tops out at around 75 Mbps down (although you'll never get anywhere close to this in the U.S.). Then you've got the faster LTE-A, or "Advanced", which gets between 150 and 225 Mbps second. However, by the end of the year, SK Telecom, South Korea's largest wireless carrier will offer something called "3band LTE-A", which uses two frequencies — 20MHz and 10MHz — to achieve 300 Mbps mobile connections.
To put that into perspective, Yonhap News Agency says an 800MB movie can be downloaded in 22 seconds compared to the 85 seconds it would take to download over regular LTE and 43 seconds over LTE-A. In case you're still scratching your head, that's fast — really, really fast.
No word on how much SK Telecom plans to charge customers, but if history is any indication, super fast LTE in South Korea is still going to be cheaper compared to what we're paying in the U.S.
SK Telecom didn't announce any upload speeds, either, but last time I was in South Korea (last summer), I easily got 75Mbps down. 300Mbps is insane. It's faster than most people will probably ever need, and yet, I want it. Why? Because I just did a speed test on my iPhone 5 on AT&T LTE in New York City and I'm only getting 32.26 Mbps down and 5.38 Mbps up. And I'm paying nearly $100 per month for only 2GB of data.