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K-pop boy group SEVENTEEN / Courtesy of Pledis Entertainment

By Dong Sun-hwa

Boy band SEVENTEEN wrote new history Saturday by becoming the first K-pop group to stage a solo concert at Incheon Asiad Main Stadium, one of the largest concert venues in Korea that can accommodate up to 30,000 spectators.

Excited fans from around the world flocked to Incheon a few hours before the group’s concert started. However, they were soon met with unexpected network issues that put a stain on their experience.

According to them, numerous people at the concert site had difficulites making phone calls or texting messages and experienced limited internet access from the morning. Fans expressed their frustration on the fan platform Weverse, noting the challenges with connectivity.

“Mobile data did not work properly and that made me so mad,” reads one of the comments.

Some parents, who had to pick up their children after the show at around 10 p.m., also vented their discontent as they could not contact their kids.

Numerous people pointed out that all three major mobile carriers in Korea — SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus — failed to predict traffic and manage network congestion on the day of the event.

In response to the criticism, the mobile carriers pledged to better equip themselves for SEVENTEEN’s next concert at the same place on Sunday.

“We have been conducting intensive monitoring since 8 a.m. today,” SK Telecom said, Sunday. “We are fully preparing by installing temporary equipment for communication and intensifying real-time monitoring.”

LG Uplus said, “We could not deploy trucks for mobile base stations (on Saturday) because the main stadium did not issue permits, citing lack of space. This was the same case for all three mobile carriers, but we plan to keep monitoring the situation so that there will be no more customer inconveniences.”

SEVENTEEN burst onto the K-pop scene in 2015 with the tune “Adore U,” and has unleashed a string of hits including “Don’t Wanna Cry” (2017). The group gained international acclaim and its album “FML” clinched the IFPI Global Album Award for 2023, marking it as the year’s top-selling album worldwide.

After performing in Incheon, it will continue its tour in Seoul, Osaka and Yokohama.

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