The number of subscribers to 5G services offered by the nation’s three telecommunications firms -- SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus -- came in at 3.47 million as of September, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT on Nov. 1.
The telecom firms began commercial 5G services on April 3. The figure stood at some 270,000 in April, but it soon increased from 1.3 million in June to 2.8 million in August.
The nation’s largest mobile network operator, SK Telecom, accounted for 44 percent of the total with some 1.54 million subscribers. KT took up 30 percent with 1.06 million, while LG Uplus made up 25.2 percent with 870,000.
The number of subscribers to all mobile services stood at 67 million -- 28 million for SK Telecom, 17 million for KT and 13.6 million for LG Uplus. Some 8 million use services run by mobile virtual network operators, which rent network infrastructure from the three telecom firms.
According to the ministry, there are around 570,000 2G mobile service users, mostly subscribers of LG Uplus, which has not announced plans to end 2G services.
Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are among global smartphone makers that have rolled out 5G-supported smartphones. Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 come with the 5G option, and LG’s V50S also supports 5G.
On the other hand, Apple’s latest iPhone 11 models lack 5G features, though the company is rumored to be working on adopting the network for its iPhones in 2020.
5G services -- available in some parts of global markets, such as China and the US -- will likely gain momentum next year, according to market analysts.
“The growth of 5G network services and smartphones during the past 12 months has outpaced that of 4G in the past,” said Peter Richardson, an analyst at research firm Counterpoint Research, forecasting that the next-generation network technology will gain steam next year.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)