South Korea - Mobile Infrastructure, Broadband, Operators - Statistics and Analyses

Synopsis

Mobile subscriber growth has been moderate in mobile market over the past five years. The market has been driven by organic growth from the three main mobile operators, together with the multitude of niche MVNOs. Mobile subscriber growth is expected to be relatively low over the next five years to 2023. Growth rates will taper off further over the next few years as the market further matures in a highly competitive market. The market will be driven by the uptake of both 4G and 5G services.

Auctions for sale of spectrum suitable for the planned deployment of 5G technology occurred in July 2018. All three incumbent mobile network operators acquired new frequencies.

South Korea’s three mobile operators, SK Telecom, LG Uplus and KT Corp have switched on their respective 5G networks for enterprise customers.

Telecom, KT Corp and LG Uplus have also launched commercial services to consumers. Initial coverage is reported to be heavily focused on Seoul and its surroundings.

KT’s industrial 5G development plans focus on five main areas in collaboration with private sector companies and the government to develop 5G services for both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-government (B2G) sectors.

The mobile broadband subscriber base in South Korea has grown moderately over the past five years in a relatively mature market supported by widespread rollouts of 4G infrastructure. Slower growth is predicted over the next five years to 2023.

Key Developments

  • South Korea's three mobile operators switch on their respective 5G networks for enterprise customers,
  • Mobile subscriber growth is expected to be relatively low over the next five years to 2023.
  • KT's industrial 5G development plans focus on five main areas in collaboration with private sector companies and the government.
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data to December 2019, operator statistics to Q4 2019.

Companies covered in this report include:

KT; LG U+; SK Telecom.

Table of Contents

  • Market analysis

    • Background
  • Mobile statistics

    • Mobile subscribers
    • Mobile broadband subscribers
  • Regulatory issues

    • Licensing
    • Subsidies
    • Spectrum
      • Spectrum auctions: 1.2GHz, 1.8GHz and 800MHz
      • Additional spectrum allocation
      • Spectrum Auctions – 2016
      • 5G Spectrum Auctions – 2018
  • Mobile infrastructure

    • 5G
      • LG U+
      • SK Telecom
      • KT Corp
    • 4G
    • 3G
    • 2G
    • VoLTE
  • Major mobile operators

    • Operator statistics
    • KT Corp
    • SK Telecom
      • Overview
      • Next Generation Growth Strategy
      • SK Planet
    • LG U+
    • MVNOs
  • Mobile content and applications

    • m-commerce
      • App-based m-payment
  • Appendix – Historic data

  • Related reports


List of Tables

  • Table 1 – Growth in the number of mobile subscribers and penetration – 2010 – 2025
  • Table 2 – Growth in the number of mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2010 – 2025
  • Table 3 – Change in mobile market share by operator – 2010 – 2019
  • Table 4 – Change in the number of mobile subscribers by operator – 2010 – 2019
  • Table 5 – Development of mobile Service ARPU per month by operator – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 6 – Development of KT Corp’s mobile subscribers by type – 2010 – 2019
  • Table 7 – Development of KT Corp’s mobile revenue – 2015 – 2019
  • Table 8 – SK Telecom mobile 3G / 4G subscribers – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 9 – SK Telecom smartphone subscribers – 2009 – 2019
  • Table 10 – SK Telecom mobile service revenue – 2017 – 2019
  • Table 12 – Historic - Mobile subscribers – 1985 – 2009
  • Table 13 – Historic - CDMA mobile subscribers by operator
  • Table 14 – Historic - mobile market share by operator – 2002 – 2009
  • Table 15 – Historic - Mobile subscribers by operator – 2002 – 2009
  • Table 16 – Historic - Mobile Service ARPU per month by operator – 2002 – 2009
  • Table 17 – Historic - KT Corp’s mobile subscribers by type – 2004 – 2009
  • Table 18 – Historic - SK Telecom mobile subscribers by type – 2002 – 2009
  • Table 19 – Historic - LG U+ mobile subscribers – 2003 – 2009
  • Table 20 – Historic - MVNO subscribers by operator – 2012 – 2014

List of Charts

  • Chart 1 – Growth in the number of mobile subscribers and penetration – 2010 – 2025
  • Chart 2 – Growth in the number of mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2010 – 2025
  • Chart 3 – Change in mobile market share by operator – 2010 – 2019
  • Chart 4 – Development of KT Corp’s mobile subscribers by type – 2010 – 2019
  • Chart 5 – Development of KT Corp’s mobile revenue – 2015 – 2019

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