This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in South Korea's telecommunications market. The report analyses the mobile, internet, broadband, and converging media sectors. Subjects include:
Researchers:- Phil Harpur
Current publication date:- February 2018 (24th Edition)
South Korea has transformed its economy to one that is more progressively knowledge based. It has invested significantly in telecommunications infrastructure over past decades.
South Korea is ranked 1st out of 34 with an Asian Telecoms Maturity Index score of 92. (BuddeComm’s “Asian Telecoms Maturity Index”, is an index (on a scale between 0 and 100) that measures and ranks the relative maturity of the telecoms industry in all of the 34 countries in Asia.) Compared to other Asian nations, South Korea has an extremely high mobile and mobile broadband penetration and very high fixed broadband penetration.
Fixed lines in South Korea have been gradually declining over the past five years. This trend is predicted to continue over the next five years to 2022.
South Korea has one of the world’s most active telecommunications and Information Technology (IT) markets backed by strong support from the government. As well as the commitment of the government, the sector is boosted by an innovative private sector and a technologically savvy population. Spending on ICT and high-technology equipment helped lead a transformation of the economy. The government aims to transform the country into a knowledge-based information society in a ‘smart-age’.
Huawei has partnered with LG U+. for the launch of Seoul TechCity as part of its commitment to drive smart city efforts. The Seoul TechCity collaborative project aims to deliver smart city capabilities for the Korean capital.
South Korea has the world’s highest number of broadband services per capita. Korea’s policy emphasis has been to establish an Ultra Broadband convergence Network (UBcN) with 1Gb/s speeds on fixed lines and 10Mb/s on wireless.
Fixed-line broadband market penetration has grown slowly over the past five years in a highly mature market. Over the next five years to 2022 growth is expected to continue to increase slowly.
SK Telecom announced the introduction of a new technology for the next generation of Wi-Fi that it claims can deliver downlink speeds ‘as fast as 5G technology’.
The Korean government has developed and demonstrated broadband-based services like e-health, e-learning, e-government and u-City. E-health services are provided to remote island regions of Korea. In this way, broadband has been used as a method to narrow the gap between rich and poor and among classes and regions.
Growth in South Korea’s mobile subscriber market has been moderate 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 2022. As the market is highly competitive, growth rates will taper off further over the next few years. 5G adoption by 2026 could reach as high as 90%.
In November 2017 LG Uplus partnered with Huawei to complete a large-scale 5G network test in a pre-commercial environment in the Gangnam District of Seoul and SK Telecom announced the successful demonstration of ‘essential technologies for 5G network communications in a real-world setting’.
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 2022.
Companies mentioned in this report:
KT; LG U+; SK Broadband; SK Telecom, SK Broadband, Hanaro Telecom
Companies (Major Players)
Mobile Communications (voice and infrastructure)
Regulations & Government Policies
Strategies & Analyses (Industry & Markets)
Number of pages 74
Last updated 5 Feb 2018
Analyst: Phil Harpur
Paul, Many thanks for your inputs yesterday. You provided a compelling different perspective to our traditional infrastructure focus and this is valuable for our future planning. I also had very favourable feedback from our participants on your involvement.
Stephen Negus, Aurecon
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