[ Macworld ] Stephen Lawson:
Still, some countries have opened up legitimately huge leads. The biggest standout is South Korea, where users enjoy LTE service 97 percent of the time. On carrier LG U+ it’s 99.6 percent, so effectively subscribers never have to fall back onto 3G. Korea is also home to the fastest single LTE operator in the world, Olleh, with an average download speed of 30Mbps. SK Telecom and LG U+ are also near the top for speed.
They got there partly through new technology. All the LTE carriers in South Korea use Carrier Aggregation, part of the bundle of specifications called LTE-Advanced, to combine two or more spectrum bands into a single fat pipe. U.S. service providers are far behind on adopting Carrier Aggregation.
In the U.S.:
- Verizon: 84%
- AT&T: 81%
- T-Mobile: 77%
- Sprint: 64%
The U.S. is a much larger country than South Korea so to blanket the entire country is harder, but the U.S. has more potential customers and therefore more profits. More profits should offset the difficulty in dealing with a larger land mass, to some degree.