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2006 Asia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband in North Korea and South Korea

Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

This report provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in telecommunications, broadcasting and pay TV markets in North and South Korea. Subjects covered include:

Key Statistics
Market and Industry Overviews
Regulatory Environment
Major Players (fixed and mobile)
Mobile Voice and Data Markets
Internet, VoIP, IPTV
Broadband (FttH, DSL, cable TV, wireless)
Convergence and Digital Media

North Korea
The development of the telecommunications sector in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is seriously impeded by the country’s parlous economic state and government repression of communication. It has been a difficult journey indeed for telecommunications in the DPRK. Though mobile services finally began in the capital Pyongyang in 2002 on a limited scale, North Korean citizens were banned from using mobile phones as of May 2004. The Chosun Ilbo newspaper has suggested that the ban might have been imposed following the oil train explosion at Ryongchon in April 2004. It has been suggested that the blast was triggered using mobile phones in an attempt to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

North Korea’s obsession with secrecy has made it extremely difficult to get a clear picture of the sector. [In the absence of official statistics, we have made estimates.] The announcement in February 2005 that the DPRK had nuclear weapons will no doubt further prevent the flow of useful telecom technologies and expertise into the country, as well as ensuring that the country remains isolated form the rest of the world for some years to come.

South Korea
South Korea has one of the most interesting and innovative telecommunications markets in the world. The Republic of Korea is a leader in many facets of the telecommunications industry. Supported by a visionary government, a creative and energetic private sector and a technology savvy population, the country continues to push ahead. The government support extends to serious levels of funding for development initiatives and R&D projects.

South Korea has the highest number of broadband connections per capita in the world. By early 2006, more than 25% of the population, or 75% of households, were broadband subscribers as the broadband market in country was reaching near saturation. It seemed that South Korea was looking for something new in the market and the introduction of WiBro broadband access, with services expected to become commercially available in 2006, was looking like the answer.

The fixed-line telephone market in South Korea continues to be dominated by the incumbent KT Corp. Dacom entered the local call services in 2004 and has made a major strategic move into Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services. Hanaro Telecom was entering the long-distance and international markets. Both telcos were looking for new areas of growth. In a country where dial-up Internet is rapidly disappearing, mobile telephony has captured the hearts of the populace and a range of interesting triple-play packages are catching on, fixed-line services have an uncertain future.

The South Korean mobile market, which had been looking like it had reached a point of saturation, some how found a way to grow by a solid 5% in 2005. Mobile penetration was around 78% in early 2006, the majority of services being new generation. Not surprisingly, the country continued to be considered a leader in Third Generation (3G) mobile technology. Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA), the second 3G standard to enter the South Korean market after CMDA 2000, became commercially available in December 2003, though the service was failing to attract a significant number of subscribers. There is increasing interest in the task of upgrading the 3G networks using High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) technology, sometimes described in the industry as 3.5G.

1.1 Key statistics
1.2 Telecommunications market
1.2.1 Overview of North Korea’s telecom market
1.2.2 Market analysis
1.2.3 Relationship with South Korea and the world
1.3 Regulatory environment
1.3.1 Foreign investment
1.4 Fixed network operators in North Korea
1.4.1 Lancelot Holdings
1.4.2 Loxley Pacific (Loxpac)
1.4.3 KT Corporation
1.4.4 Shin Satellite Corp
1.5 Telecommunications infrastructure
1.5.1 National telecom network
1.5.2 International
1.6 Internet market
1.6.1 Overview
1.6.2 Websites
1.6.3 Email service
1.6.4 VoIP
1.6.5 Internet cafes
1.7 Mobile communications
1.7.1 Overview of North Korea’s mobile market
1.7.2 GSM
1.7.3 CDMA
1.8 Broadcasting
1.8.1 Overview
1.8.2 TV stations
1.8.3 Cable TV
1.8.4 Satellite TV
2.1 Key statistics
2.2 Telecommunications market
2.2.1 Overview of South Korea’s telecom market
2.2.2 Competitive market
2.2.3 Fixed-line and mobile phones in South Korea
2.2.4 Internet and broadband in South Korea
2.2.5 Television broadcasting in South Korea
2.2.6 Telecommunications service markets
2.2.7 Market highlights and analysis - 2006
2.2.8 Market highlights and analysis - 2005
2.2.9 Market highlights and analysis - 2004
2.2.10 Market highlights and analysis - 2003
2.3 Regulatory environment
2.3.1 Overview
2.3.2 Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC)
2.3.3 National Internet Development Agency of Korea (NIDA)
2.3.4 Korea Communications Commission (KCC)
2.3.5 National Computerisation Agency (NCA)
2.3.6 Korea Broadcasting Commission (KBC)
2.3.7 Master plans for an information society
2.3.8 Deregulation
2.3.9 Privatisation of Korea Telecom (KT)
2.3.10 Licensing
2.3.11 Ownership rules
2.3.12 Number portability
2.3.13 Year 2003
2.3.14 Year 2004
2.3.15 Year 2005
2.3.16 Year 2006
2.4 Fixed network operators in South Korea
2.4.1 Overview
2.4.2 KT Corp
2.4.3 Dacom Corporation
2.4.4 Hanaro Telecom
2.4.5 Onse Telecom
2.5 Telecommunications infrastructure
2.5.1 Overview of infrastructure developments in South Korea
2.5.2 National telecom network
2.5.3 International infrastructure
2.5.4 Infrastructure developments
2.5.5 Data communications
2.5.6 Regulatory issues
2.6 Broadband market
2.6.1 Overview
2.6.2 Growth drivers
2.6.3 Statistical overview
2.6.4 Major broadband ISPs
2.6.5 Broadband services
2.6.6 E-services
2.7 Convergence
2.7.1 Overview of convergence
2.7.2 Broadband convergence Network (BcN)
2.7.3 Triple play models
2.7.4 Digital TV
2.8 Mobile communications
2.8.1 Overview of South Korea’s mobile market
2.8.2 Mobile technologies
2.8.3 Major mobile operators
2.8.4 Mobile voice services
2.8.5 Mobile data services
2.8.6 Mobile applications
2.8.7 Mobile content
Exhibit 1 - Regional TV broadcasters
Exhibit 2 - Classification of service providers
Exhibit 3 - Foreign ownership restrictions
Exhibit 4 - Overview of KT subsidiaries
Exhibit 5 - National submarine fibre optic cables
Exhibit 6 - International submarine fibre optic cables
Exhibit 7 - Confusion surrounding DSL statistics in South Korea
Exhibit 8 - LMCS network operators
Exhibit 9 - Estimated B-WLL frequencies
Exhibit 10 - Types of telecom convergence
Exhibit 11 - Overview of licences awarded to mobile carriers
Exhibit 12 - Wireless Internet services

Table 1 - Country statistics North Korea - 2005
Table 2 - Telephone network statistics - 2005
Table 3 - Mobile statistics - 2005
Table 4 - National telecommunications authorities
Table 5 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1990 - 2005
Table 6 - Country statistics South Korea - 2006
Table 7 - Telephone network statistics - 2005
Table 8 - Internet provider statistics - 2005
Table 9 - Internet user statistics - 2005
Table 10 - Broadband statistics - 2005
Table 11 - Mobile statistics - 2005
Table 12 - National telecommunications authorities
Table 13 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1991 - 2006
Table 14 - Registered .kr domains - 1996 - 2006
Table 15 - Internet users - 1994 - 2006
Table 16 - ISDN subscribers - 1994 - 2006
Table 17 - Broadband Internet subscriber growth and population penetration - 1998 - 2006
Table 18 - Broadband Internet subscriber statistics by system - 1998 - 2006
Table 19 - Broadband market share by provider - January 2006
Table 20 - Cable modem subscribers - 2000 - 2006
Table 21 - ADSL subscribers - 2000 - 2006
Table 22 - Mobile subscriber growth - 1994 - 2006
Table 23 - CDMA 2000 1x subscribers by operator and system - 2004 - 2005
Table 24 - Mobile subscribers and market share by operator - December 2005
Table 25 - Mobile subscribers and annual change by operator and technology - December 2005

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