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South Korea - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses

  • March 2016
  • -
  • Paul Budde Communication Pty Ltd
  • -
  • 65 pages

South Korea is a world leader in the digital economy
South Korea has transformed its economy to one that is more progressively knowledge based. Having invested significantly in ‘basic’ telecommunications infrastructure over past decades, the country has well developed submarine cable and satellite infrastructure as well as solid internet resources to support the growing demand for national and international communications.

South Korea has one of the world’s most active telecommunications and Information Technology (IT) markets backed by strong support from the government. As well as the commitment of the government, the sector is boosted by an innovative private sector and a technologically savvy population. Spending on ICT and high-technology equipment helped lead a transformation of the economy. The government aims to transform the country into a knowledge-based information society in a ‘smart-age’.

By 2016, KT was still the largest telephone and fixed-line company. With declining revenues from its fixed-line services, the company has forged ahead with IPTV and LTE. Competition with LG U+ and SK Broadband had intensified on many fronts ranging from IPTV to VoIP. In order to maintain market share it had become an imperative for KT to offer bundled solutions and therefore ramp up its VoIP capabilities.

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 2017 however growth rates will taper off further over the next few years as the market further matures. By 2015 SK Telecom was the market leader followed KT and LG Telecom.

New investments are intended to drive revenue and gain market share and recent years has seen the launch of LTE and the rapid increase in smartphone adoption.

South Korea has the world’s highest number of broadband services per capita. Into 2013 over 37% of the population and 95% of households were broadband subscribers. FttX accounted for 60% of total subscriptions. Korea’s policy emphasis has been to establish an Ultra Broadband convergence Network (UBcN) with 1Gb/s speeds on fixed lines and 10Mb/s on wireless by 2015.

VoIP services are becoming increasingly popular as operators bundle services in a bid to stop the decline in ARPU. The operators continue to invest heavily in fibre based broadband deployments and IPTV subscriptions have passed the 5 million mark as more content is available and the operators are able to compete more effectively with live broadcasts.

The widespread adoption of the Internet in South Korea coupled with the continued pace of development has resulted in an exciting digital economy. This report looks at various aspects of the digital economy in South Korea that support the drive to converged services. It includes information on e-commerce users, e-banking and e-government. This report also contains information on internet usage pattern.


Key developments:
SK Telecom worked with Ericsson and Sony Mobile to trial the use of IoT wearables over LTE networks. The
SK Telecom introduced ‘ThingPlug’, an open IoT platform based on oneM2M standards.
Samsung and SK Telecom signed an agreement to ensure interoperability of their smart home platforms covering consumer electronic products.
LG Uplus demonstrated faster mobile broadband speeds using technology termed as LTE in Unlicensed spectrum (LTE-U).
In 2015 KT Corp constructed a new mobile network service ‘Giga LTE’ service utilises both LTE and Wi-Fi technologies to offer a peak speed of 1.17Gbps.
Ericsson and LG Uplus signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate on the development of 5G and (IoT) technologies.
SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus’ launched the world’s first commercial interconnected VoLTE service.
Three operators hold over 80% of the Korean broadband market: KT, SK Broadband and LGU+.
Internet use is widespread in South Korea with surveys even including children as young as three years of age.
South Korea’s broadband subscriber base continues to rise. The move towards faster speeds and becoming full-service operators is expected to further drive this trend.
FttX deployments have increased as operators try to gain customers through bundled services such as high-definition IPTV.
Market penetration is predicted to continue to grow moderately over the next five years reaching between 50% and 65% by 2021.
Growth is being driven by an expected increase in converged solutions being offered such as IPTV and Smart Home services.



Companies mentioned in this report:
KT; LG U+; SK Broadband; SK Telecom

Table Of Contents

South Korea - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses
1. Key statistics
1.1 Country overview
1.1.1 Background
1.1.2 South Korea's economy
2. Telecommunications market
2.1 Market Overview and analysis
2.2 Global rankings and South Korea
2.2.1 Global Innovation Index INSEAD
3. Regulatory environment
3.1 Regulatory authority
3.1.1 KCC Overview and responsibilities
3.1.2 KCC related laws
4. Fixed network Operators
4.1 KT Corp
4.2 LG U+
5. Telecommunications infrastructure
5.1 Overview of the national telecom network
5.1.1 Internet eXchange (IX)
5.1.2 National submarine cable infrastructure
5.2 International infrastructure
5.2.1 International submarine cable infrastructure
5.3 Smart infrastructure
5.3.1 M2M/IoT
5.3.2 Smart grids
5.3.3 Smart cities
5.3.4 Connected / Smart homes
6. Broadband market
6.1 Introduction and statistical overview
6.1.1 Market analysis
6.1.2 Broadband statistics
6.1.3 Forecasts broadband subscribers 2016; 2018; 2021
6.2 Broadband Technologies
6.2.1 Overview
6.2.2 Cable modem
6.2.3 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
6.2.4 Apartment LAN
6.2.5 Fibre-to-the-Home
6.3 Fixed Broadband operators
6.3.1 Operator Statistics
6.3.2 KT Corp
6.3.3 SK Broadband
6.3.4 LG U+
6.3.5 Fixed wireless (WiFi and WiMAX)
7. Digital media
7.1 Cable TV (CATV)
7.2 Satellite infrastructure
7.3 Videostreaming
7.3.1 IPTV
7.4 Communications: VoIP, messaging, conferencing
7.4.1 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
8. Digital economy
8.1 e-Commerce
8.2 e-Banking
8.3 e-Government
8.3.1 Next Generation e-government plan: 2008 - 2012
8.3.2 E-Government Global Academy (eGGA) established in South Korea
9. Mobile communications
9.1 Market Overview and Analysis
9.2 Background of South Korea's mobile market
9.3 Mobile statistics
9.3.1 General statistics
9.3.2 Mobile data
9.3.3 Forecasts
9.4 Regulatory issues
9.4.1 Licensing
9.4.2 Spectrum
9.5 Mobile infrastructure
9.5.1 Digital networks
9.5.2 Other infrastructure developments
9.6 Major mobile operators
9.6.1 KT Corp
9.6.2 SK Telecom
9.6.3 LG U+
9.6.4 MVNOs
9.7 Mobile content and applications
9.7.1 m-commerce
Table 1 Country statistics South Korea 2015
Table 2 Telephone network statistics 2015
Table 3 Internet user statistics 2015
Table 4 Broadband statistics 2015
Table 5 Mobile statistics 2015
Table 6 National telecommunications authorities
Table 7 KT Corp - Total Voice- PSTN and VoIP lines subscribers and teledensity 1991 2015
Table 8 KT Corp's fixed-line subscribers (PSTN) and market share 2004 - 2016
Table 9 KT Corp's VoIP subscribers 2008 - 2016
Table 10 LG Telecom fixed-line (PSTN and VoIP) subscribers 2005 - 2015
Table 11 International bandwidth 1997 - 2013
Table 12 Smart grid investment to 2015
Table 13 Fixed broadband internet subscriber growth and penetration rate 1999 - 2015
Table 14 Broadband subscribers and households - 2015
Table 15 Broadband internet subscriber numbers by system 1998 - 2015
Table 16 Internet users and population penetration rates 1994 - 2016
Table 17 Internet users and population penetration rates 2003 - 2015
Table 18 Internet subscribers 1996 - 2015
Table 19 Personal computers and penetration by population and household (historical) 2000 - 2014
Table 20 Internet usage rates by service 2011 2015
Table 21 Main purpose of using the internet 2010 2013; 2015
Table 22 Forecast broadband subscribers and penetration rates 2016; 2018; 2021
Table 23 Broadband subscribers by access type 2015
Table 24 Cable modem subscribers 1999 2015
Table 25 Broadband cable modem (HFC) subscribers by service provider 2015
Table 26 DSL subscribers 1999 2015
Table 27 DSL subscribers by service provider January 2015
Table 28 A-LAN subscribers 2002 - 2015
Table 29 A-LAN subscribers by service provider 2015
Table 30 FttH subscribers 2006 - 2015
Table 31 FttH subscribers by service provider 2015
Table 32 Broadband market share by operator 2015
Table 33 Broadband subscribers by operator (millions) 2005 - 2015
Table 34 Broadband market share by operator 2005 2015
Table 35 KT Corp's broadband internet subscribers 2003 - 2015
Table 36 KT Corp's IPTV subscribers 2006 - 2015
Table 37 KT Corp's WiBro subscribers 2007 - 2015
Table 38 SK Broadband revenue, net income, capex, EBITDA 2003 - 2014
Table 39 SK Broadband - broadband internet subscribers 2012 - 2015
Table 40 LG U+ broadband subscribers 2004 - 2015
Table 41 LG U+ IPTV subscribers 2007 2015
Table 42 KT and SK Telecom WiBro subscribers 2006 - 2015
Table 43 IPTV subscribers by operator 2006 - 2015
Table 44 South Korea VoIP subscribers by major operator and market share September 2014
Table 45 South Korea VoIP subscribers 2006 - 2014
Table 46 E-commerce volume by transaction type (historical) 2001 - 2013
Table 47 Internet banking service subscribers 2001 - 2013
Table 48 Financial service by delivery channel 2005 2013
Table 49 Usage of e-government services 2013
Table 50 Mobile subscribers 2006 - 2015
Table 51 Mobile subscribers (historical) 1985 - 2005
Table 52 Mobile subscribers by operator 2002 - 2015
Table 53 Mobile operator market share 2002 - 2016
Table 54 Mobile Service ARPU per month by operator 2009 - 2015
Table 55 Smart phone subscribers and market share (historical) 2009 - 2012
Table 56 Forecast smart phone and tablet PC subscribers and market share 2010 2015
Table 57 Monthly Traffic volume per phone type 2012 - 2014
Table 58 Forecast mobile subscribers and penetration rates 2016; 2018; 2021
Table 59 CDMA mobile subscribers by operator (historical) 2002 - 2013
Table 60 WCDMA subscribers by operator (historical) 2013
Table 61 LTE mobile subscribers by operator 2011 2014
Table 62 KT Corp's mobile and 3G subscribers and total market share 2004 - 2015
Table 63 KT's Voice and data ARPU 2004 2015
Table 64 SK Telecom revenue, net profit, capex, EBITDA margin 2005 - 2015
Table 65 SK Telecom mobile and 3G subscribers, ARPU 2002 - 2015
Table 66 SK Telecom smartphone subscribers and penetration 2009 - 2015
Table 67 Monthly LTE usage per subscriber 2012 - 2015
Table 68 LG U+ revenue, net income, EBITDA 2009 2015
Table 69 LG U+ revenue breakdown by service 2009 2014
Table 70 LG U+ capex 2009 2015
Table 71 LG U+ - total mobile ARPU 2009 - 2015
Table 72 LG Telecom mobile subscribers, ARPU 2003 - 2015
Table 73 LG Telecom smartphone subscribers and penetration 2011 2014
Table 74 MVNO subscribers by operator 2012 - 2014
Table 75 M-commerce transaction value 2012 - 2015
Table 76 Payment Gateway transaction value 2012 - 2015
Chart 1 South Korea broadband subscribers and population penetration 2006 - 2015
Chart 2 Number of internet users and growth rate in South Korea 2003 - 2015
Chart 3 Broadband subscribers by operator 2005 - 2015
Chart 4 South Korea mobile subscriber growth, population penetration 2006 - 2015
Chart 5 Operator total market share 2015
Exhibit 1 Map of South Korea
Exhibit 2 Significant telecoms operators in South Korea
Exhibit 3 KT at a glance
Exhibit 4 Interconnection status by IX - 2014
Exhibit 5 National submarine fibre optic cables overview in South Korea
Exhibit 6 International submarine fibre optic cables overview in South Korea
Exhibit 7 Smart grid implementation areas
Exhibit 8 Phased implementation plan of Jeju Smart Grid: 2010 - 2013
Exhibit 9 KT at a glance
Exhibit 10 SK Broadband at a glance
Exhibit 11 Comparison of WiBro and mobile technologies in South Korea
Exhibit 12 KOREASAT satellite status
Exhibit 13 E-government stages: 1980s - present
Exhibit 14 KT at a glance
Exhibit 15 SK Telecom at a glance
Exhibit 16 LG U+ at a glance

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