Tuesday, April 20, 2010

iPhone to blame for a 24% drop in South Korean Internet speed?

With half a million iPhones now in South Korean hands, and the propensity of iPhone users to use their device for anything and everything (I myself no longer watch TV on an actual television, choosing instead to watch "Survivor" at the cbs.com website, most other programs at hulu.com, and a few select NBC programs on Quicktime with the iPhone), data flow seems to be getting gummed up.

Anyway, this all adds up to some serious slowage:
In the course of three months during 2009, South Korea's average Internet connection speed dropped by a dramatic 24 percent. Think about the magnitude of the decline here: one of the world's most wired countries suddenly sees its overall Internet speeds reduced by a quarter over a few months while similarly positioned countries like Sweden, the Netherlands, and Hong Kong all saw speed increases.

What happened? Blame it on the iPhone.

According to Akamai's recent State of the Internet report, South Korea's bizarre Internet slowdown can largely be traced to the introduction of the iPhone in that country in November 2009. Akamai saw an explosion of unique IP addresses associated with a particular mobile operator (apparently KT, formerly known as Korea Telecom) soon after the phone's launch, indicating broad new iPhone usage.

Unfortunately, this particular mobile provider is slow. "As the average observed connection speed for this mobile provider was a fraction of that observed from wireline connections in South Korea," says the report, "we believe that this launch was likely responsible for the significant drop in South Korea's average undeserved connection speed in the fourth quarter [of 2009]."
Since this iPhone-bashing article is not in the Korea Times, it might be credible.


  1. That sucks so much... I hadn't noticed the slow speeds, but I'll be sure to punch an iPhone user in the face next time I can't watch South Park.

  2. Woah Nelly! Have to call you one this one.

    The average speed of the Korean internet HAS NOT SLOWED DOWN!

    However, the average recorded speed (with an iPhone) with which people have accessed the internet has slowed - if you see the distinction. Quote:
    "As the average observed connection speed for this mobile provider was a fraction of that observed from wireline connections in South Korea,"

    Having just tested the speed of my connection I continue to have a symmetrical 20Mb/s connection (i.e. 20 up and 20 down) on my desktop and 1.5-2.0Mb/s on my iPhone down (and a paltry 64k up)

    The internet hasn't slowed down (notwithstanding a denial of service attack I'm not aware of) the average speed recorded (because there are som many iphones out there) has.

    That being said, I'd be interested as to what the average download speed over 3G is on AT&T

  3. Stafford, I didn't write it, I just reported it. Since lots of people have accused the Korea Times of being on the take with name-your-chaebol, I would have looked into this a bit more had it been a KT article, but this is from an outside source with outside data, and I figured that Akamai would know what they're talking about.

    Have you tried this upload and download at different times of the day? If the slowage really did exist, it might be more noticeable at certain times of the day, like in the late evening.


Share your thoughts, but please be kind and respectful. My mom reads this blog.