South Korea’s average ‘Net speed plunges 24%, iPhone blamed
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].”
That’s… a lot of slow iPhones (well, slow iPhone service, at least). Still, despite a massive drop in average access speeds, Korea remains number one on the worldwide list, with an average of 11.7Mbps. The US, if you were wondering, is at 22nd place with 3.8Mbps.