South Korea Closed July With Nearly 2M 5G Subs

Government data shows SK Telecom with more than 41% of 5G users at the end of July; country's 4G subscriber numbers start to decline.

September 3, 2019

2 Min Read
South Korea Closed July With Nearly 2M 5G Subs

Almost 2 million mobile users in South Korea signed up for 5G services in the first four months of their availability, according to statistics released by the country's Ministry of Science and ICT.

The numbers also show how the country's 4G subscriber base is slowly declining as 5G uptake ramps.

At the end of July, almost four months after all three of the country's main network operators announced the launch of 5G services, South Korea boasted 1,911,705 users of 5G services, up from 1,336,865 at the end of June: That amounts to 574,840 additional 5G sign-ups during the month of July (more than 18,500 per day).

Figure 1: South Korea 5G & 4G Subscribers March-July 2019 Source: South Korea Ministry of Science and ICT Source: South Korea Ministry of Science and ICT

The data shows that SK Telecom had 791,241 5G customers at the end of July, giving it a 5G market share of 41.4%.

KT had signed up 596,612 customers for its 5G services, giving it a market share of 31.2%, while LGU+ had 523,852 5G users, a market share of 27.4%.

SK Telecom recently announced that it hit the 1 million 5G subscriber mark on August 21.

Local media reported that August's 5G uptake was expected to top 850,000 following the release last month of the Galaxy Note 10, a 5G phablet developed by South Korean device giant Samsung.

The expectations are that South Korea will end 2019 with more than 5 million 5G users.

The statistics also show there were 55.84 million 4G customers across South Korea at the end of July, down slightly month-on-month as users migrate from 4G to 5G contracts. SK Telecom accounted for 43.5% of 4G users, KT held a 27.5% share, and LGU+ had a 22.7% share of the 4G market, with MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) accounting for 6.3% of the 4G subscriber market. (There are no 5G MVNOs in South Korea currently.)

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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