South Korea’s 5G adoption tops 14 million

South Korea’s 5G adoption tops 14 million

Standalone 5G networks in Korea are the next stage, with the costs of building additional infrastructure being a barrier to quick deployment.

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South Korea continues to bring 5G to its citizens with the number of 5G users going past 14 million at the end of March, two years after the networks first went live in the country, reported the country’s ministry of Science and ICT.

5G subscriptions stood at 14.48 million, accounting for 20 percent of the total 71.1 million mobile subscriptions to date.

South Korea was the first country in the world to commercialise 5G networks in April 2019.

Top mobile carrier SK Telecom Co. had the most 5G subscribers at 6.74 million, followed by KT Corp. at 4.4 million and LG Uplus Corp. at 3.33 million.

Subscriptions to 4G continued to decline, standing at 51.18 million last month, down around 250,000 from the previous month.

Users on 4G still accounted for the majority of mobile subscriptions, accounting for around 72 percent of the total.

Telcos have been pushing for faster user migration to 5G networks from previous generation networks, launching new services and more affordable 5G data plans since late last year.

5G services are available via non-standalone 5G networks, which depend on previous 4G LTE networks, with 5G networks available mostly in large cities. While the networks were initially criticised for spotty connections and slower-than-expected speeds, they have improved.

SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus are currently preparing to commercialise standalone versions of the 5G networks and millimetre-wave 5G.

The mmWave 5G service will be initially available for the business-to-business segment.

Most telcos have yet to decide on investment plans for the business-to-consumer sector, as the cost of building additional infrastructure still represents a major issue.

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