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South Korea - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts

  • April 2015
  • -
  • Paul Budde Communication Pty Ltd
  • -
  • 121 pages

Operators searching for the next growth driver as LTE in South Korea matures
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 possesses well developed national and international communications infrastructure. Government involvement continues with the aim of transforming the country into a knowledge-based information society in a ‘smart-age’.

South Korea’s operators have invested heavily in fibre based broadband deployments, laying the foundations for triple play services. IPTV subscriptions have grown beyond the 10 million mark as more content is available and the operators are able to compete more effectively with their own live broadcasts. To underpin further growth, KT unveiled a new vision known as “GigaTopia” in 2014. The vision is comprised of three goals: delivering Gigabyte speeds to end users, developing an “Internet of Things (IOT)” platform and delivering convergent services such as combined WiFi and LTE-Advanced. To meet these goals KT plans to invest KRW4.5 trillion over three years.

South Korea continues to be a booming mobile market as it rapidly takes up LTE and innovatively explores the options for value-added services. The market passed the 110% penetration level with many individuals carrying at least one mobile phone. 4G LTE now represents the majority of mobile connections after it was introduced in 2011. Not surprisingly, there has also been a rapid increase in mobile traffic, hinting at potential profitability challenges ahead as operators are forced to spend on upgrading network capacity while at the same time reduce tariffs in response to competition.
South Korea has the world’s highest number of broadband services per capita. Into 2015 approximately 40% of the population and around 95% of households were broadband subscribers. Over 60% of broadband subscribers used FttH or Apartment LANs, with the remainder accessing predominantly cable. KT unveiled plans to increase access speeds to 1Gb/s as part of its GigaTopia strategy, triggering a potential round of infrastructure upgrades as competitors spend on CAPEX to keep pace. The move by KT fulfils Korea’s UBcN (Ultra Broadband convergence Network) strategy, which aims for 1Gb/s speeds on fixed lines.

The drive towards a ‘new economy’ has seen significant investments in the Internet of Things (IOT) including Smart Grids and Smart Cities. The major operators successfully utilised LTE introduction to grow revenue by upselling ARPU. However with LTE penetration approaching maturity levels, the major operators are increasingly looking towards the IOT as the next major revenue growth driver.

Market highlights:

LTE has been used to successfully increase ARPU levels through upselling;
Strong LTE demand was supported by new LTE plans and introduction of more smartphones into the market resulting in ARPU trending upwards;
Commercial LTE-Advanced has been launched with the focus now on increasing downlink speeds;
Convergence has been identified as the next growth driver as LTE penetration matures;
Fixed broadband population penetration is approaching 40%;
Into 2015, fibre technology accounted for almost 60% of all broadband subscribers in South Korea while ADSL subscriptions had declined to less than 10%, the remainder is due to cable modem subscribers;
KT has launched its new GigiTopia vision to stimulate growth through increased fixed broadband speeds;
Usability of online payment services has improved after the regulatory requirement to use Active-X was removed. The online payment opportunity has spurred new players such as Kakao to enter the online payment market;
HD voice over LTE (VoLTE) was launched allowing operators to plan towards eventually allocating most if not all spectrum to LTE.

Table Of Contents

South Korea - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts
1. Key Statistics
1.1 Country Overview
1.1.1 Background
1.1.2 South Korea's economy
2. Telecommunications Market
2.1 Government support
2.2 Communication industry revenue by type
2.3 Global rankings and South Korea
2.3.1 Government Broadband Index - EIU
2.3.2 Global Innovation Index INSEAD
2.4 Telecommunications market sectors
2.4.1 Fixed-line and mobile services
2.4.2 Broadband in South Korea
3. Regulatory Environment
3.1 KCC Overview and responsibilities
3.2 KCC related laws
3.3 National Internet Development Agency of Korea (NIDA)
3.4 Policy overview
4. Fixed Network Market
4.1 Forecast fixed-line subscribers 2013 - 2015; 2018
5. Major Operators
5.1 Overview of Major Telecom Operators
5.2 KT Corp
5.2.1 Company overview
5.2.2 Company background
5.2.3 KT Corp: Financial statistics
5.2.4 KT Corp: Operations statistics
5.3 SK Broadband
5.3.1 Company overview
5.3.2 Company developments
5.3.3 Company background
5.3.4 SK Broadband: Financial statistics
5.3.5 SK Broadband: Operations statistics
5.4 SK Telecom
5.4.1 Company overview
5.4.2 Company background
5.4.3 SK Telecom: Financial statistics
5.4.4 SK Telecom: Operations statistics
5.4.5 SK Telecom: LTE 2.0 plans
5.4.6 SK Planet
5.5 LG U+
5.5.1 Company overview
5.5.2 LG U+: Financial statistics
5.5.3 LG U+: Operations statistics
5.5.4 LG U+: Beyond Telecom initiatives
6. Telecommunications Infrastructure
6.1 National submarine cable infrastructure
6.2 International submarine cable infrastructure
6.3 Satellite infrastructure
6.4 Internet infrastructure
6.4.1 Internet eXchange (IX)
6.4.2 South Korea registered domains
6.4.3 IPv6
6.4.4 South Korea international internet bandwidth
6.5 Smart grids
6.5.1 Smart grid: new laws
6.5.2 Smart grid stages: 2010 - 2030
6.5.3 Five smart grid implementation areas
6.5.4 Jeju Island
6.6 Smart cities
6.6.1 New Songdo City
6.6.2 Busan
6.7 Infrastructure investment overview
6.8 Infrastructure investment stages of growth
6.8.1 Ubiquitous Korea (u-Korea)
6.9 Green IT in South Korea
6.10 Top 10 ICT focus areas: 2010 - 2018
6.11 New Technology Development
6.11.1 Controlling TVs with one's eyes
7. Internet Market
7.1 Internet statistics
7.1.1 South Korea internet users
7.1.2 South Korea internet subscribers
7.2 Internet usage patterns
7.3 Internet Forecasts
7.3.1 Forecast internet users 2013 - 2015; 2019
7.3.2 Forecasting methodology
7.4 Internet media consumption
8. Broadband Market
8.1 Background
8.1.1 Broadband success criteria
8.2 Overview
8.3 Broadband statistics
8.4 Operator broadband subscribers
8.5 Broadband subscribers by access type
8.6 Forecast broadband subscribers 2013 - 2015; 2019
8.7 Broadband government targets
8.7.1 Broadband convergence Network
8.7.2 Ultra Broadband convergence Network
8.7.3 Broadband speed results
8.8 Broadband technologies
8.8.1 Overview
8.8.2 Cable modem
8.8.3 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
8.8.4 Apartment LAN
8.8.5 Fibre-to-the-Home
8.9 Wireless broadband
8.9.1 Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)/Wireless Fidelity (WiFi)
8.9.2 WiBro
8.9.3 Mobile broadband
8.10 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
8.11 Broadband TV
8.11.1 Triple play background
8.11.2 Internet protocol TV (IPTV)
9. Digital Media / Digital Economy
9.1 Digital Media
9.1.1 National television networks
9.1.2 Digital TV
9.1.3 Satellite TV
9.1.4 Cable TV (CATV)
9.1.5 Broadcasting deregulation
9.1.6 Nationwide Terrestrial 3D Broadcast
9.1.7 TV Music Streaming
9.2 Digital Economy
9.2.1 E-commerce
9.2.2 E-government
9.2.3 E-entertainment
9.2.4 E-Learning
9.2.5 E-services
10. Mobile Communications
10.1 Overview of South Korea's mobile market
10.2 Background of South Korea's mobile market
10.3 Mobile statistics
10.3.1 Mobile subscribers 1985 - 2016
10.3.2 Mobile subscribers by operator
10.3.3 Mobile ARPU by operator
10.4 Fourth mobile operator to enter market?
10.4.1 KMI
10.4.2 Kbiz
10.5 MVNOs
10.6 Spectrum auctions: 1.2GHz, 1.8GHz and 800MHz
10.7 Additional spectrum allocation
10.8 Mobile technologies
10.8.1 Analogue (AMPS)
10.8.2 Personal Communication Service (PCS)
10.8.3 Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA)
10.8.4 Wideband CDMA (WCDMA)
10.8.5 LTE
10.8.6 Voice over LTE (VoLTE)
10.8.7 LTE-Advanced (LTE-A)
10.8.8 Smartphones
10.9 Mobile data services
10.10 Mobile content and applications
10.10.1 Overview
10.10.2 M-commerce/m-payment
10.10.3 Mobile banking (m-banking)
10.10.4 Mobile government (m-government)
10.10.5 Apps Stores
10.10.6 Mobile advertising
10.10.7 NFC chips in smartphones
10.10.8 Mobile TV
10.10.9 Mobile learning
10.10.10 OTT Voice
10.11 Forecast: Mobile subscribers 2014- 2016; 2019
Table 1 Country statistics South Korea 2015
Table 2 Telecom revenue and investment statistics 2013
Table 3 Telephone network statistics 2014
Table 4 Internet user statistics 2015
Table 5 Broadband statistics January 2015
Table 6 Mobile statistics 2015
Table 7 National telecommunications authorities
Table 8 South Korea GDP real growth rate 2008 - 2013
Table 9 South Korea GDP and GDP per capita 2000 - 2017
Table 10 Telecommunications fixed-line, mobile, total revenue and investment 2000 - 2013
Table 11 Wireline communication service revenue by sector 2008 - 2013
Table 12 Wireless communication service revenue by sector 2008 - 2012
Table 13 Fixed and mobile lines in service and teledensity 1991 2015
Table 14 KT Corp's fixed-line subscribers and market share 2003 - 2016
Table 15 Broadband internet subscribers by operator 2005 - 2014
Table 16 Broadband internet market share by operator 2005 2014
Table 17 Forecast fixed-line subscribers and penetration higher band: 2013 - 2015; 2018
Table 18 Forecast fixed-line subscribers and penetration lower band: 2013 - 2015; 2018
Table 19 Mobile operator market share by subscribers 2002 - 2015
Table 20 KT Corp revenue, net profit, capex 2008 2014
Table 21 KT Corp's fixed-line (PSTN) subscribers and market share 2003 - 2016
Table 22 KT Corp's VoIP and total subscribers 2008 - 2016
Table 23 KT Corp's broadband internet subscribers and market share 2003 - 2015
Table 24 KT Corp's IPTV subscribers, ARPU and market share 2006 - 2015
Table 25 KT Corp's WiBro subscribers 2007 - 2014
Table 26 KT Corp's mobile and 3G subscribers and total market share 2004 2014
Table 27 KT's Voice and data ARPU 2004 2014
Table 28 KT's smartphone subscribers and penetration 2009 2014
Table 29 SK Broadband revenue, net income, capex, EBITDA 2003 - 2014
Table 30 SK Broadband - broadband internet subscribers 2012 - 2015
Table 31 SK Telecom revenue, net profit, capex, EBITDA margin 2005 - 2014
Table 32 SK Telecom mobile and 3G subscribers, ARPU 2002 - 2014
Table 33 SK Telecom smartphone subscribers and penetration 2009 - 2014
Table 34 Monthly LTE usage per subscriber 2012 - 2014
Table 35 LG U+ revenue, net income, EBITDA 2009 2014
Table 36 LG U+ revenue breakdown by service 2009 2014
Table 37 LG U+ capex 2009 2014
Table 38 LG U+ - total mobile ARPU 2009 - 2014
Table 39 LG Telecom mobile subscribers, ARPU 2003 - 2014
Table 40 LG Telecom smartphone subscribers and penetration 2011 2014
Table 41 LG Telecom fixed-line (PSTN and VoIP) subscribers 2005 - 2014
Table 42 LG U+ broadband subscribers 2004 2014
Table 43 LG U+ IPTV subscribers 2007 2015
Table 44 Registered .kr domains 1993 - 2015
Table 45 Number of IPv4 and IPv6 addresses 1997 - 2015
Table 46 International bandwidth 1997 - 2013
Table 47 Smart grid investment to 2015
Table 48 Internet users and population penetration rates 1994 - 2016
Table 49 Internet users and population penetration rates 2003 - 2013
Table 50 Internet subscribers 1996 - 2015
Table 51 Personal computers and penetration by population and household 1995 - 2014
Table 52 Internet usage rates by service 2009 - 2013
Table 53 Main purpose of using the internet 2010 - 2013
Table 54 Forecast internet users and penetration higher band: 2013 - 2015; 2019
Table 55 Forecast internet users and penetration lower band: 2013 - 2015; 2019
Table 56 Online versus offline media consumption 2012
Table 57 Fixed broadband internet subscriber growth and penetration rate 1998 - 2015
Table 58 Broadband subscribers and households January 2015
Table 59 Broadband market share by operator January 2015
Table 60 Broadband internet subscriber numbers by system 1998 - 2015
Table 61 Forecast broadband subscribers and penetration higher band: 2013 - 2015; 2019
Table 62 Forecast broadband subscribers and penetration lower band: 2013 - 2015; 2019
Table 63 BcN implementation in households/subscribers 2005; 2007 - 2011
Table 64 UBcN implementation goals in households/subscribers 2009 2013
Table 65 Broadband subscribers by access type January 2015
Table 66 Cable modem subscribers 1999 2015
Table 67 Broadband cable modem (HFC) subscribers by service provider January 2015
Table 68 DSL subscribers 1999 2015
Table 69 DSL subscribers by service provider January 2015
Table 70 A-LAN subscribers 2002 - 2015
Table 71 A-LAN subscribers by service provider January 2015
Table 72 FttH subscribers 2006 - 2015
Table 73 FttH subscribers by service provider January 2015
Table 74 KT and SK Telecom WiBro subscribers 2006 - 2014
Table 75 South Korea VoIP subscribers by major operator and market share September 2014
Table 76 South Korea VoIP subscribers 2006 - 2014
Table 77 IPTV subscribers by operator 2006 - 2015
Table 78 DTH subscribers 2002 2015
Table 79 E-commerce volume by transaction type 2001 - 2013
Table 80 Internet banking service subscribers 2001 - 2013
Table 81 Financial service by delivery channel 2005 2013
Table 82 Usage of e-government services 2013
Table 83 E-tax usage rates 2002 - 2007
Table 84 Online game market volume 2002 - 2009
Table 85 Digital music market volume 2003 - 2009
Table 86 Usage rates by types of social networking service 2013
Table 87 Mobile subscribers 1985 - 2016
Table 88 Mobile subscribers and annual change by operator and technology January 2015
Table 89 Mobile operator market share 2002 - 2016
Table 90 Mobile subscribers by operator 2002 2016
Table 91 Mobile Service ARPU per month by operator 2011 - 2014
Table 92 MVNO subscribers by operator 2012 - 2014
Table 93 CDMA mobile subscribers by operator 2002 - 2013
Table 94 WCDMA subscribers by operator June 2013
Table 95 LTE mobile subscribers by operator 2011 2014
Table 96 Smart phone subscribers and market share 2009 - 2012
Table 97 Forecast smart phone and tablet PC subscribers and market share 2010 2015
Table 98 Monthly Traffic volume per phone type 2012 - 2014
Table 99 M-commerce transaction value 2012 - 2015
Table 100 Payment Gateway transaction value 2012 - 2015
Table 101 Mobile banking service subscribers 2003 2010
Table 102 Forecast mobile subscribers and penetration lower band forecast 2014 - 2016; 2019
Table 103 Forecast mobile subscribers and penetration higher band forecast 2014 - 2016; 2019
Chart 1 Telecommunications revenue breakdown 2000 versus 2013
Chart 2 South Korea fixed-line and mobile subscribers 2000 - 2015
Chart 3 Broadband internet subscribers by operator 2005 - 2014
Chart 4 LG U+ revenue, capex, ARPU 2009 - 2014
Chart 5 Number of internet users and growth rate in South Korea 2000 - 2015
Chart 6 South Korea broadband subscribers and population penetration 2000 - 2014
Chart 7 South Korea share of broadband subscribers by technology 2002 - 2015
Chart 8 South Korea mobile subscriber growth, population penetration 2000 - 2014
Chart 9 Operator total market share January 2015
Chart 10 South Korea mobile subscribers by operator 2002 2016
Exhibit 1 Map of South Korea
Exhibit 2 Significant telecoms operators in South Korea
Exhibit 3 KT at a glance December 2014
Exhibit 4 SK Broadband at a glance December 2014
Exhibit 5 SK Telecom at a glance December 2014
Exhibit 6 LG U+ at a glance December 2014
Exhibit 7 National submarine fibre optic cables overview in South Korea
Exhibit 8 International submarine fibre optic cables overview in South Korea
Exhibit 9 KOREASAT satellite status
Exhibit 10 Interconnection status by IX - 2014
Exhibit 11 Smart grid implementation areas
Exhibit 12 Phased implementation plan of Jeju Smart Grid: 2010 - 2013
Exhibit 13 Informatisation policies and paradigms 1998 - 2012
Exhibit 14 Informatisation Promotion: Execution body
Exhibit 15 Green IT promotion strategies of domestic companies
Exhibit 16 Comparison of WiBro and mobile technologies in South Korea
Exhibit 17 Regional TV broadcasters in South Korea
Exhibit 18 E-government stages: 1980s - present
Exhibit 20 South Korea rankings in UN global e-government survey 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012

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