Monday 12 May 2014

South Korea: Operator Overview

There are three mobile phone service providers:

Korea Telecom

Korea Telecom (KT) in 2002 absorbed KT Freetel (KTF), its mobile phone service provider, and offers its services, using HSPA and LTE networks. It is currently deploying an LTE network.

LG U Plus

LG U Plus (LG U+), a member of LG Group, also provides CDMA2000 and LTE networks.

SK Telecom

SK Telecom (SKT) of SK Group also offers its service, using CDMA2000, HSPA and LTEnetworks.

Market Share:

There market shares of the three companies are believed to be:
SK Telecom's 50 percent,
Korea Telecom's 30 percent
LG Telecom's 20 percent.

Regarding the Korean mobile phone industry's overseas experiences, SK Telecom has helped the first mobile phone service companies in Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Cambodia, etc. In China, it helped China Unicom's CDMA implementation, both technically and financially.
Samsung and LG have the largest market shares in Korea. Nokia already discontinued its sales operations in Korea.
As of March 2009, the number of mobile subscribers in Korea nearing 46 million total mobile subscribers and the nation’s penetration rate almost 100%. Mobile telecommunications services in South Korea are served by three operators: SKT (SKTelecom), KTF (Korea Telecom Freetel), and LGT (LG Telecom). SKT represents 50.50% of the market share, KTF 31.54% and LGT 17.95% as of December 2007. The nation first launched its mobile telecommunication services in 1960.

New data from the South Korean regulator has revealed that the country has over 48 million 'Wireless Internet Connections,' a figure that represents over 90 percent of its total mobile connections base and underlines its position as one of the most advanced mobile markets in the world.

The LTE-Advanced network can download data at speeds twice as fast as 4G networks and 10 times faster than 3G services, according to SK Telecom Co.

More than 60 per cent of South Korea's 33million smartphone users have subscribed to the LTE service.

Read more:

SK Telecom offers unlimited LTE data to subscribers
Subscribers to the operator’s T&All 75+Unlimited Data Option, T&All 85 and T&All 100 plans can take advantage of the unlimited data, calls and messages at no additional cost and without having to sign up to the upgrade. There are around one million subscribers on these plans according to the operator; it has a total of 27.4 million subscribers, according to the latest figures from Informa’s WCIS.

Keeping its first-mover strategy, SK recently announced that it achieved the world’s first commercialization of Uplink CoMP (Uplink Cooperative Multi Point) a technology that will improve mobile data upload speed by 20% on its LTE network. Importantly, since it is applied to base stations, no upgrade is needed for LTE devices. The company said that it plans to implement Uplink CoMP to all its LTE base stations by the end of 2014.

LTE pioneer SK Telecom has successfully developed LTE-Advanced tri-band carrier aggregation technology, to ease network congestion in built up areas in South Korea.

South Korean operator SK Telecom has launched a platform that it says will provide real time information on what its customers are doing. The Context Platform uses data collected by a customer’s smartphone, if it is embedded with the platform, via its camera, GPS, sensors and wifi to discover contextual information about that subscriber.

The firm explained that the platform allows it to make informed guesses about whether  the user is walking, for example, as the handset detects the user’s repeated movement and speed via its sensors and GPS. It then analyses the data it has collected through an algorithm to conclude that the user is “in a walking situation”. SK Telecom added that the more the platform repeats this process of analysis, the more accurate the platform becomes.

The operator said the platform can also make conclusions based on customers’ usage patterns involving social networking, voice calls, SMS and applications.

SK Telecom and LG Uplus, number one and three respectively in South Korea’s mobile market, both claimed a world first on developing three-band carrier aggregation (CA) for LTE-Advanced technology.
SK Telecom plans to demonstrate its triple-band CA technology at this year’s Mobile World Congress, but will be going one step further by aggregating together three lots of 20MHz. This, says SK Telecom, will give top-line speeds of up to 450Mb/s on LTE-Advanced.
According to GSMA Intelligence, South Korea is the world’s most advanced 4G market with penetration as a percentage of total connections passing the 50 per cent mark in Q4 2013. This compares to around a quarter 4G-user penetration in Japan and the US.

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