For the four types of high-speed fixed-line services - FTTH, FTTB+LAN, HFC (hybrid fiber coaxial) and xDSL - currently available in Korea, the number of FTTH service subscribers increased by 46.1% during the period from January 2013 to June 2017. In comparison, those for FTTB+LAN service rose 19.6%, while the subscribers to HFC and xDSL services both actually went down during the same period. Since the FTTH service has been enjoying a higher growth rate, the technology is likely to become mainstream fixed-line broadband service in Korea by 2020, according to Digitimes Research.
The number of high-speed fixed line broadband service subscribers in Korea has been growing steadily, expanding from 18.738 million at the end of 2013 to 20.943 million at the end of June 2017. During the period, the FTTB+LAN service saw its subscribers increase from 6.995 million to 8.364 million, while the FTTH had its subscribers grow from 5.107 million to 7.463 million.
Fix-line broadband network operators in Korea include top-three telecom operators, Korea Telecom (KT), the SK Group (SK Broadband/SK Telecom) and LG Uplus, and a number of other cable TV operators. Among them, KT accounted for over 40% of the fixed-line subscriber market in the first half of 2017. The SK Group and LG Uplus also recorded steady growths in subscribers during the period, while cable TV operators saw their combined market share in terms of subscribers fell to 15.2% from 16.3% previously.
The top-three telecom operators also managed to ramp up total subscribers of their IPTV services to 14.76 million at the end of June 2017 compared to 8.73 million at the end of 2013, largely at the expense of cable TV operators.
The top-three telecom operators have been promoting their IPTV services bundled with fixed-line broadband services, resulting in growths for the subscribers to IPTV, FTTH, and FTTB+LAN services, Digitimes research has found.