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South Korea - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts


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South Korea - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts

LTE in South Korea touching 50% of mobile subscriber base as demand for data surges

South Korea has one of the world’s most active telecommunications and Information Technology markets backed by strong support from the government. Spending on ICT and high-technology equipment helped lead a transformation of the economy to one that is more progressively knowledge based. Having invested significantly in ‘basic’ telecommunications infrastructure over past decades, the country now has well developed submarine cable and satellite infrastructure as well as solid internet resources to support the growing demand for national and international communications. The government involvement continues with the aim of transforming the country into a knowledge-based information society in a ‘smart-age’.

The South Korean Government had a declared commitment to transition the country to digital terrestrial, digital cable and digital satellite TV broadcasting by 2012. The pressure created by convergence prompted South Korea to rewrite its regulatory arrangements for the broadcasting and communications sector. The operators continue to invest heavily in fibre based broadband deployments. As a result IPTV subscriptions have passed the 7 million mark as more content is available and the operators are able to compete more effectively with their own live broadcasts.

South Korea continues to be a booming mobile market as it innovatively explores the options for value-added services. The market passed the 110% penetration rate mark into 2013 with many individuals carrying at least one mobile phone. Having launched 3G networks in 2003, these had accounted for the majority of subscriptions. More recently, following the launch of 4G LTE services in 2011, this technology is quickly overwhelming the market and, coming into 2014, it had claimed 50% of the total mobile subscriber base. Not surprisingly, there has also been a rapid increase in smartphone adoption.

South Korea has the world’s highest number of broadband services per capita. Into 2014 over 38% of the population and around 95% of households were broadband subscribers. FttX accounted for over 60% of total subscriptions. Since 2006, Korea’s policy emphasis has been on completing a Broadband convergence Network (BcN) with wireline speeds of 50-100Mb/s per household and 1-2Mb/s on wireless connections. The plan moving forward has been for a UBcN (Ultra Broadband convergence Network) with 1Gb/s speeds on fixed lines and 10Mb/s on wireless by 2013.

The drive towards a ‘new economy’ has seen significant investments in Smart Infrastructure including Cloud Computing, Smart Grids and Smart Cities. The emergence of a National Strategy for Green IT has seen government promotion of new industry creation into 2018 such as 4G broadcasts and 3D and Smart television.

Market highlights:

Into 2014, fibre technology accounted for over 60% of all broadband subscribers in South Korea while ADSL subscriptions had declined to close to 10%, the balance being accounted for by cable modem subscribers;
Mobile penetration increased to 110%; Strong LTE demand was supported by the introduction of more smartphones into the market and has seen ARPU trend upwards;
LTE data usage is reported at least 50% higher compared with 3G at 1.6GB and 1.2GB respectively as reported by SK Telecom end June 2012. Samsung reports figures as high as 2.9GB of data on average a month compared with 1.2GB for 3G users;
LTE-Advanced testing continuing, with KT taking a lead role;
HD voice over LTE (VoLTE) was launched by SK Telecom;
Multi-carrier technology on 800MHz and 1.8GHz bands was launched in a world first
The introduction of MVNO services was starting to impact on the mobile market in 2013;
Spectrum auctions were held raising over US$1.5 billion for 10 year licence allocations;
WiFi and femtocell investments increased to reduce pressure on the core mobile networks;
A Smart Grid pilot is underway on Jeju Island with plans for a nationwide grid by 2030;
Green Economy initiatives are driving investments in Smart Cities.


  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  • KEY STATISTICS
    • Table Country statistics South Korea - 2013
    • Table Telecom revenue and investment statistics - 2011
    • Table Telephone network statistics - March 2013
    • Table Internet user statistics - 2012
    • Table Broadband statistics - July 2013
    • Table Mobile statistics - September 2013
    • Table National telecommunications authorities
    • COUNTRY OVERVIEW
      • South Korea's economy
        • Table South Korea GDP real growth rate - 2008 - 2014
        • Table South Korea GDP and GDP per capita - 2000 - 2017
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
    • GOVERNMENT SUPPORT
    • ICT INDUSTRY AS AN ENGINE OF ECONOMIC GROWTH
      • Table Growth of ICT industry - 2003 - 2010
      • Table Average growth rate per GDP and medium over 10 years from 2001 to 2010
    • COMMUNICATION INDUSTRY REVENUE BY TYPE
      • Table Telecommunications fixed-line, mobile, total revenue and investment - 2000 - 2012
      • Table Wireline communication service revenue by sector - 2008 - 2013
      • Table Wireless communication service revenue by sector - 2008 - 2012
    • GLOBAL RANKINGS AND SOUTH KOREA
      • Government Broadband Index - EIU
      • Global Innovation Index - INSEAD
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET SECTORS
      • Fixed-line and mobile services
        • Table Fixed and mobile lines in service and teledensity - 1991 - 2013
        • Table KT Corp's fixed-line subscribers and market share - 2004 - 2013
        • Table Telephony (PSTN + VoIP) subscribers, market share by operator - August 2013
        • Table Telephone lines by operator (PSTN) - 2005 – 2013
        • Table Telephone lines by operator (VoIP) - 2006 – 2013
      • Broadband in South Korea
        • Table Broadband internet subscribers by operator - 2005 - 2013
        • Table Broadband internet market share by operator - 2005 - 2013
  • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
    • KCC - OVERVIEW AND RESPONSIBILITIES
    • KCC - RELATED LAWS
    • NATIONAL INTERNET DEVELOPMENT AGENCY OF KOREA (NIDA)
    • POLICY OVERVIEW
  • MAJOR OPERATORS
    • OVERVIEW OF MAJOR TELECOM OPERATORS
    • KT CORP
      • Company overview
        • Table KT at a glance - December 2011
      • Company background
        • Table Mobile operator market share - 2002 – 2013
      • KT Corp: Financial statistics
        • Table KT Corp revenue, net profit, capex - 2008 - 2013
        • Table KT Corp capex - 2010
      • KT Corp: Operations statistics
        • Table KT Corp's fixed-line (PSTN) subscribers and market share - 2003 - 2013
        • Table KT Corp's VoIP and total subscribers - 2008 - 2013
        • Table KT Corp's broadband internet subscribers and market share - 2003 - 2013
        • Table KT Corp's IPTV subscribers, ARPU and market share - 2006 - 2013
        • Table KT Corp's WiBro subscribers - 2007 - 2013
        • Table KT Corp's mobile and 3G subscribers and total market share - 2004 - 2013
        • Table KT's Voice and data ARPU - 2004 - 2011
        • Table KT's smartphone subscribers and penetration - 2009 - 2013
    • SK BROADBAND
      • Company overview
        • Table SK Broadband at a glance - December 2011
      • Company developments
      • Company background
      • SK Broadband: Financial statistics
        • Table SK Broadband revenue, net income, capex, EBITDA - 2003 - 2013
        • Table SK Broadband operating revenue split - 2008 - 2011
        • Table SK Broadband capex - 2006 - 2011
      • SK Broadband: Operations statistics
        • Table SK Broadband - broadband internet subscribers - 2005 - 2012
        • Table SK Broadband - broadband internet subscribers - 2012 - 2013
        • Table SK Broadband `B tv' TV subscribers - 2006-2013
    • SK TELECOM
      • Company overview
        • Table SK Telecom at a glance - December 2011
      • Company background
      • SK Telecom: Financial statistics
        • Table SK Telecom revenue, net profit, capex, EBITDA margin - 2005 - 2013
      • SK Telecom: Operations statistics
        • Table SK Telecom mobile and 3G subscribers, ARPU - 2002 - 2013
        • Table SK Telecom smartphone subscribers and penetration - 2009 - 2013
      • SK Telecom: LTE 2.0 plans
      • SK Planet
    • LG U+
      • Company overview
        • Table LG U+ at a glance - December 2011
      • LG U+: Financial statistics
        • Table LG U+ revenue, net income, EBITDA - 2009 – 2012
        • Table LG U+ revenue breakdown by service - 2009 – 2012
        • Table LG U+ capex - 2009 - 2013
        • Table LG U+ - total mobile ARPU - 2009 - 2013
      • LG U+: Operations statistics
        • Table LG Telecom mobile subscribers, ARPU - 2003 - 2013
        • Table LG Telecom fixed-line (PSTN and VoIP) subscribers - 2005 - 2013
        • Table LG U+ broadband subscribers - 2004 - 2013
        • Table LG U+ IPTV subscribers - 2007 - 2013
      • LG U+: "Beyond Telecom" initiatives
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
    • NATIONAL SUBMARINE CABLE INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Table National submarine fibre optic cables overview in South Korea
    • INTERNATIONAL SUBMARINE CABLE INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Table International submarine fibre optic cables overview in South Korea
    • SATELLITE INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Table KOREASAT satellite status
    • INTERNET INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Internet eXchange (IX)
        • Table Interconnection status by IX - 2011
      • South Korea registered domains
        • Table Registered .kr domains - 1993 - 2013
      • IPv6
        • Table Number of IPv4 and IPv6 addresses - 1997 - 2013
      • South Korea international internet bandwidth
        • Table International bandwidth - 1997 - 2013
    • SMART GRIDS
      • Table Smart grid investment to 2015
      • Smart grid: new laws
      • Smart grid stages: 2010 - 2030
      • Five smart grid implementation areas
      • Jeju Island
    • SMART CITIES
      • New Songdo City
      • Busan
    • INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT STRATEGIES
      • Infrastructure investment overview
      • Infrastructure investment stages of growth
      • Green IT in South Korea
      • Top 10 ICT focus areas: 2010 - 2018
      • New Technology Development
  • INTERNET MARKET
    • SOUTH KOREA INTERNET USERS
      • Table Internet users and population penetration rates - 1994 - 2014
      • Table Internet users and population penetration rates - 2003 - 2012
    • SOUTH KOREA INTERNET SUBSCRIBERS
      • Table Internet subscribers - 1996 - 2014
      • Table Personal computers and penetration by population and household - 2000 - 2013
    • SOUTH KOREA ICT USAGE BY HOUSEHOLD
      • Table Households with ICT service access by type: - 2011 - 2012
    • CHANGES IN THE AVERAGE INTERNET USER BY ACTIVITY- 2000 VS 2010, 2011
      • Table Changes in the average internet user by activity- 2000 versus 2010, 2011
    • DISTRIBUTION OF INTERNET USERS BY REGION - 2010
      • Table Population and internet users by region - 2010
    • INTERNET USAGE PATTERNS
      • Table Internet usage rates by service- 2009 - 2012
      • Table Main purpose of using the internet - 2010 - 2012
      • Table Households with ICT devices - 2012
    • INTERNET USAGE BY THE SOCIALLY DISADVANTAGED
      • Table Internet usage rate of the socially disadvantaged - 2003 - 2009
      • Table Computer penetration rate in the socially disadvantaged households - 2003 - 2009
    • INTERNET MEDIA CONSUMPTION
      • Table Online versus offline media consumption - 2012
  • BROADBAND MARKET
    • BACKGROUND
      • Broadband success criteria
    • OVERVIEW
    • BROADBAND STATISTICS
      • Table Fixed broadband internet subscriber growth and penetration rate - 1998 - 2014
      • Table Broadband subscribers and households - July 2013
    • OPERATOR BROADBAND SUBSCRIBERS
      • Table Broadband market share by operator - July 2013
    • BROADBAND SUBSCRIBERS BY ACCESS TYPE
      • Table Broadband internet subscriber numbers by system - 1998 - 2013
    • BUNDLED SERVICES USAGE RATE BY TYPE
      • Table Bundled service usage pattern: households using bundled services- 2011
    • BROADBAND GOVERNMENT TARGETS
      • Broadband convergence Network
        • Table BcN implementation in households/subscribers - 2005; 2006 - 2011
      • Ultra Broadband convergence Network
        • Table UBcN implementation goals in households/subscribers - 2009 - 2013
      • Broadband speed results
    • BROADBAND TECHNOLOGIES
      • Overview
        • Table Broadband subscribers by access type - July 2013
      • Cable modem
        • Table Cable modem subscribers - 1999 - 2013
        • Table Broadband cable modem (HFC) subscribers by service provider - July 2013
      • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
        • Table DSL subscribers - 1999 - 2013
        • Table DSL subscribers by service provider - July 2013
      • Apartment LAN
        • Table A-LAN subscribers - 2002 - 2013
        • Table A-LAN subscribers by service provider - July 2013
      • Fibre-to-the-Home
        • Table FttH subscribers - 2006 - 2013
        • Table FttH subscribers by service provider - July 2013
    • WIRELESS BROADBAND
      • Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)/Wireless Fidelity (WiFi)
      • WiBro
        • Table KT and SK Telecom WiBro subscribers - 2006 - 2013
        • Table KT and SK Telecom WiBro domestic investment plans - 2006 - 2011
    • VOICE OVER INTERNET PROTOCOL (VOIP)
      • Table South Korea VoIP subscribers by major operator and market share - August 2013
      • Table South Korea VoIP subscribers - 2006 - 2011
    • BROADBAND TV
      • Triple play background
      • Internet protocol TV (IPTV)
        • Table IPTV subscribers by operator - 2006 - 2013
        • Table IPTV growth by channels, content providers, after-school classrooms - 2008 - 2010
        • Table IPTV real-time and pre-IPTV subscribers - 2008 - 2012
  • DIGITAL MEDIA / DIGITAL ECONOMY
    • DIGITAL ECONOMY
      • E-commerce
        • Table E-commerce volume - 2001 - 2011
        • Table E-commerce volume by transaction type - 2001 - 2011
        • Table Internet banking service subscribers - 2001 - 2013
        • Table Financial service by delivery channel - 2005 - 2013
      • E-government
        • Table E-tax usage rates - 2002 - 2007
        • Table E-government stages: 1980s - present
        • Table South Korea rankings in UN global e-government survey: 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012
      • E-entertainment
        • Table Online game market volume - 2002 - 2009
        • Table Digital music market volume - 2003 - 2009
        • Table Usage rates by types of social networking service - 2012
      • E-Learning
      • E-services
        • Table Online stock trading customers - 2004 - 2007
        • Table Purchase items by internet shopping - 2012
        • Table E-learning user market volume - 2004 - 2008
        • Table Internet search engine market share - May 2011
    • BROADCASTING
      • National television networks
      • Digital TV
      • Satellite TV
        • Table DTH subscribers - 2002 - 2013
      • Cable TV (CATV)
        • Table Cable TV operators and subscribers - Q2 2010
        • Table Analogue and digital cable TV subscribers - 2002 - 2010, 2012
        • Table Comparison of cost per cable TV subscriber - 2009
      • Broadcasting deregulation
      • Nationwide Terrestrial 3D Broadcast
      • TV Music Streaming
  • MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
    • OVERVIEW OF SOUTH KOREA'S MOBILE MARKET
    • BACKGROUND OF SOUTH KOREA'S MOBILE MARKET
    • MOBILE STATISTICS
      • Mobile subscribers 1985 - 2013
        • Table Mobile subscribers - 1985 - 2013
      • Mobile subscribers by operator
        • Table Mobile subscribers and annual change by operator and technology - June 2013
        • Table Mobile operator market share - 2002 – 2013
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator - 2002 - 2013
      • Mobile ARPU by operator
        • Table Blended mobile ARPU by operator - 2Q 2013
        • Table Mobile Service ARPU per month by operator - 1Q 2011 - 2Q 2013
    • FOURTH MOBILE OPERATOR TO ENTER MARKET?
      • KMI
      • Kbiz
    • MVNOS
      • Table MVNO subscribers by operator - January 2012, September 2012
    • SPECTRUM AUCTIONS: 1.2GHZ, 1.8GHZ AND 800MHZ
    • ADDITIONAL SPECTRUM ALLOCATION
    • MOBILE TECHNOLOGIES
      • Analogue (AMPS)
      • Personal Communication Service (PCS)
      • Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA)
        • Table CDMA mobile subscribers by operator - 2002 - 2013
      • Wideband CDMA (WCDMA)
        • Table WCDMA subscribers by operator - June 2013
      • LTE
        • Table LTE mobile subscribers by operator - 2011 - 2013
      • Voice over LTE (VoLTE)
      • LTE-Advanced (LTE-A)
      • Smartphones
        • Table Smart phone subscribers and market share - 2009 - 2012
        • Table Forecast smart phone and tablet PC subscribers and market share - 2010 - 2015
    • MOBILE DATA SERVICES
      • Market overview
      • Wireless Internet NIDA survey 2010
        • Table Purpose of using mobile phone wireless internet - 2009 - 2010
        • Table Wireless internet device usage - 2010
    • MOBILE CONTENT AND APPLICATIONS
      • Overview
      • M-commerce/m-payment
      • Mobile banking (m-banking)
        • Table Mobile banking service subscribers - 2003 - 2010
      • Mobile government (m-government)
      • Apps Stores
      • Mobile advertising
      • NFC chips in smartphones
      • Mobile TV
      • Mobile learning
      • OTT Voice
  • FORECASTS
    • FORECAST FIXED-LINE SUBSCRIBERS - 2012 - 2013; 2017
      • Table Forecast fixed-line subscribers and penetration - higher band: 2012 - 2013; 2017
      • Table Forecast fixed-line subscribers and penetration - lower band: 2012 - 2013; 2017
    • FORECAST BROADBAND SUBSCRIBERS - 2011 - 2012; 2017
      • Table Forecast broadband subscribers and penetration - higher band: 2012 - 2013; 2017
      • Table Forecast broadband subscribers and penetration - lower band: 2012 - 2013; 2017
    • FORECAST INTERNET USERS - 2011 - 2012; 2016
      • Table Forecast internet users and penetration - higher band: 2012 - 2013; 2017
      • Table Forecast internet users and penetration - lower band: 2012 - 2013; 2017
    • FORECAST:MOBILE SUBSCRIBERS 2012- 2013; 2017
      • Table Forecast mobile subscribers and penetration lower band forecast - 2011 - 2012; 2017
      • Table Forecast mobile subscribers and penetration higher band forecast - 2011 - 2012; 2017

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