Status of South Korea 5G network (Part 1)

Ricky Tu, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei 0


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While 4G LTE remains the mainstream mobile communication technology in South Korea, the cumulative number of 5G users will likely have exceeded 30 million by the end of April 2023, narrowing the gap against 4G users. A DIGITIMES Research projection indicates that Korea's total 5G users will likely surpass 4G by the end of 2024.

Korea's three major telecom operators have focused on building 5G sub-6GHz (3.5GHz) base stations and have gradually abandoned using the 5G 28GHz millimeter-wave (mmWave) spectrum. As a result, Korea's ranking in the proportion of mmWave frequency bands to the global 5G base stations will unlikely catch up with neighboring Japan.

As it takes about 1.5 years on average for Korea to increase its 5G users by 10 million, the cumulative number of its 5G users will exceed 40 million by the end of 2024, officially surpassing the number of 4G users, which is gradually decreasing.

Among Korea's top three telecom operators, SK Telecom (SKT) is the leader in total mobile communication users and 5G users. While Korea Telecom (KT) has maintained a stable market share of around 30% in the 5G segment since its launch of 5G services in 2019, SKT has seen its share continue rising and approaching 50%, eroding the market share of LG U+.

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