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S. Korean public buses to provide faster 5G-based free Wi-Fi service

By Park Sae-jin Posted : December 5, 2023, 16:21 Updated : December 5, 2023, 16:21
Courtesy of SK Telecom
[Courtesy of SK Telecom]
SEOUL -- South Koreans who use public buses will gain access to a 5G-based free public Wi-Fi service that is about four times faster than the currently provided 4G-based free wireless internet service starting December 6.

Currently, some 29,100 public buses that carry passengers across South Korea offer 4G-based free Wi-Fi service for customers. By following the simple steps shown inside a bus, customers can use the free wireless internet service without having to use up their data plans.

The science ministry and SK Telecom (SKT), the country's biggest mobile carrier, said that all Wi-Fi systems on public buses have been upgraded to 5G-based. From now on, passengers can use free internet at the speed of up to 400 megabits per second, which is fast enough to enjoy various streaming services including YouTube and Netflix.

"This free Wi-Fi is fast enough for 100 passengers. There won't be any problem for buses fully packed with commuters. The free internet also has a strong security system. We have upgraded the security capabilities for the open-type network system," SKT's public solution business division manager Kwon Seok-ju told reporters during a demonstration event held in Seoul on December 5.

The science ministry revealed a plan to replace old fourth and fifth-generation Wi-Fi routers with the latest seventh-generation routers in 2025. The seventh-generation Wi-Fi will be standardized and commercialized in 2024. The science ministry said the discarded routers can be re-used to create wireless internet networks at public places such as marketplaces and libraries.

South Korea offers free Wi-Fi at most public places including bus and subway stations. The free nationwide internet access program was launched in 2012 and was accessed 9.2 billion times to provide 66 petabytes of data, equivalent to some 57.9 million copies of high-resolution video content.

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