South Korea - Mobile Infrastructure, Broadband, Operators - Statistics and Analyses
South Korea's mobile market has slow growth over the last few years due to a highly mature market. Organic growth by the three main mobile operators, together with the multitude of niche MVNOs will result in further growth to 2018 however growth rates will taper off further over the next few years as the market further matures. Market penetration reached 117% in 2016 and is predicted to reach between 119% and 122% by 2021 driven by the uptake of both 4G and 5G services.
The split in mobile operator market share has remained relatively constant over the last two decades. LG Telecom however has made a marginal increase in market share over that time. SK Telecom is the market leader with 49% market share while KT and LG Telecom hold 31% and 20% overall market share respectively.
The mobile broadband market is highly mature in South Korea. Penetration has increased moderately over the past five years from 105% in 2012 to 111% in 2016.
Prepaid voice services have not been particularly prevalent in South Korea, with the subscription model dominating the mobile market.
South Korea's mobile network operators are expected to roll out trial 5G services in time for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. SK Telecom (SKT) completed a successful test of five-band carrier aggregation (5C). It is reportedly aiming to commercialise the technology in the first half of 2017. SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus' launched the world's first commercial interconnected VoLTE service. LG Uplus introduced a new technology designed to boost telecom quality in network blind spots, called Cloud Digital Unit' (CDU').