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

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

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Executive Summary

South Korea Continues as a Fixed Broadband World Leader

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 2017, 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.

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.

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 has the world’s highest number of broadband services per capita. 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.

Since breaking through the 10 million subscriber mark in 2002, subscriber growth has steadily increased, reaching over 20 million fixed broadband subscribers by 2016. Market penetration is predicted to continue to grow moderately over the next five years reaching over 50% by 2021, with a market penetration of 41%. Growth is being driven by an expected increase in converged solutions being offered such as IPTV and Smart Home services. Much will depend on the continuing strength of the economy in South Korea.

Internet use is widespread in South Korea with surveys even including children as young as three years of age. The internet has permeated all aspects of society and has made a significant contribution to education even at pre-school level. Internet penetration reached 91% by 2016.

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 also 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. It also contains information on internet usage patterns.

Key developments:

ISK Telecom (SKT) signed a contract with Samsung Electronics for the deployment the world’s first commercial Internet of Things (IoT)-dedicated nationwide LoRaWAN network.

KT and Nokia Networks launched the first IoT lab in South Korea.

Three operators hold over 80% of the Korean broadband market: KT, SK Broadband and LGU+.

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.

Growth is being driven by an expected increase in converged solutions being offered such as IPTV and Smart Home services.

South Korea’s mobile network operators are expected to roll out trial 5G services in time for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

SK Telecom (SKT) completed a successful test of five-band carrier aggregation (5C).

SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus’ launched the world’s first commercial interconnected VoLTE service.

Key Companies mentioned in this report:

KT; LG U+; SK Broadband; SK Telecom

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1. Key statistics

1.1 Country overview

1.2 Background

1.3 South Korea's economy

2. Telecommunications market

2.1 Market Overview

3. Regulatory environment

3.1 Historic overview

3.2 Regulatory authority

3.2.1 KCC Overview and responsibilities

3.2.2 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 Overview and analysis

6.1.2 Broadband statistics

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 network operators

6.3.1 Operator Statistics

6.3.2 KT Corp

6.3.3 SK Broadband

6.3.4 LG U+

6.4 Other fixed broadband services

6.4.1 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 Broadband

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

Chart 1 Fixed lines and teledensity 2012-2017

Chart 2 South Korea broadband subscribers and population penetration 2006-2016

Chart 3 Broadband subscribers by operator 2005-2016

Chart 4 South Korea mobile subscriber growth, population penetration 2006-2016

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

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

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

Table 1 Country statistics South Korea 2016

Table 2 Telephone network statistics 2016

Table 3 Internet user statistics 2016

Table 4 Broadband statistics 2016

Table 5 Mobile statistics 2016

Table 6 National telecommunications authorities

Table 7 KT Corp-Total Voice- PSTN and VoIP lines subscribers and teledensity 1991 2016

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 2005-2016

Table 11 Fixed lines and teledensity 2012-2017

Table 12 Historical Fixed lines in service and teledensity 1991 2011

Table 13 International bandwidth 1997-2017

Table 14 Smart grid investments

Table 15 Fixed broadband subscriber growth and penetration rate 1999-2016

Table 16 Broadband internet subscriber numbers by system 1998-2016

Table 17 Internet users and population penetration rates 2003-2016

Table 18 Internet usage rates by service 2011 2015

Table 19 Main purpose of using the internet 2010 2013; 2015

Table 20 Forecast broadband subscribers and penetration rates 2016; 2018; 2021

Table 21 Cable modem subscribers 1999 2016

Table 22 Broadband cable modem (HFC) subscribers by service provider 2015

Table 23 DSL subscribers 1999 2016

Table 24 Historical-DSL subscribers by service provider 2015

Table 25 A-LAN subscribers 2002-2016

Table 26 Historic-A-LAN subscribers by service provider 2015

Table 27 FttH subscribers 2006-2016

Table 28 Historic-FttH subscribers by service provider 2015

Table 29 Broadband subscribers market share by operator (millions) 2005-2016

Table 30 Broadband market share by operator 2005 2016

Table 31 LG U+ broadband subscribers 2004-2016

Table 32 IPTV subscribers by operator 2006-2015

Table 33 Historic-South Korea VoIP subscribers

Table 34 Historical-Usage of e-government services

Table 35 Mobile subscribers 2006-2016

Table 36 Historic-Mobile subscribers 1985-2005

Table 37-Mobile subscribers and market share by operator 2016

Table 38 Mobile subscribers by operator 2002-2016

Table 39 Mobile market share by operator 2002-2016

Table 40 Mobile Service ARPU per month by operator 2009-2016

Table 41 Historic-Smart phone subscribers and market share

Table 42 Historic-Smart phone and tablet PC subscribers and market share 2010 2015

Table 43 Mobile broadband subscribers 2012-2016

Table 44 Forecast mobile subscribers and penetration rates 2016; 2018; 2021

Table 45 Historic-CDMA mobile subscribers by operator

Table 46 KT Corp's mobile and 3G subscribers and total market share 2004-2016

Table 47 SK Telecom mobile and 3G subscribers, ARPU 2002-2016

Table 48 SK Telecom smartphone subscribers and penetration 2009-2016

Table 49 Monthly LTE usage per subscriber 2012-2016

Table 50 LG U+ revenue, net income, EBITDA 2009 2016

Table 51 LG Telecom mobile subscribers, ARPU 2003-2016

Table 52 Historic-MVNO subscribers by operator 2012-2014

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