Is it possible for South Korea to have more 5G then 3G subscribers BEFORE the official “5G” = ITU-R WP5D – IMT 2020 standards are completed?
Indeed, South Korean mobile network operators plan to take an early lead in the deployment of 5G (perhaps because of the February 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang). That would help them overcome stagnating traditional wireless service revenues, according to market research firm GlobalData.
The South Korean market’s 5G subscriber base is forecast to outnumber the 3G base by 2020, two years after the world’s first commercial 5G deployment during next year’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, GlobalData said in its report.
That will occur at a time when mobile voice service revenues are expected to decline at an average rate of 7% per year through to 2021, GlobalData telecom market analyst Malcolm Rogers stated.
“Operators around the globe faced with the same challenge, evolve to something more than a pipe provider or offer services that come with more utility. However, the Korean operators have been among the most proactive in growing business outside the core of communication,” he said.
“Whereas operators in some markets have been slow to react to the digital disruption caused by OTTs and internet giants like Google and Amazon, the players in South Korea have been investing in new digital business for years.”
The main South Korea wireless network operators – SK Telecom, KT and LG U+ – are focusing on a range of non-core segments including industrial IoT, payment platforms, media and commerce, Rogers added.
From the report description (see Reference below):
SK Telecom and LG U+ now offer cellular based wireless payment platforms that allow small retailers, traders and vendors to conduct business from anywhere. All three major telecom providers have also invested in B2C and B2B e-commerce operations, venturing into an entirely new industry. 5G networks will enable operators to provide new services for industry, government and consumers. Korea Telecom (KT) has already completed trial to offer 5G enabled entertainment services such as high definition virtual reality and 8K mobile video while SKT and KT are developing driverless car solutions and security platforms based on 5G technologies.
South Korea plans to complete the deployment of a commercial 5G mobile network in the second half of 2019, Heo Won-seok, director of ICT and Broadcasting Technology Policy at South Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, said during a keynote presentation at the Global 5G Event, May 25, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan.
KT recently launched an AI-based home assistant service while both SK Teleom and LG U+ are offering cellular based wireless payment platforms. All three carriers are investing in business-to-consumer and business-to-business e-commerce offerings, which is an entirely new industry for those network operators.
Against this backdrop, 5G networks are expected to allow the network operators to introduce new services targeting industry, government and consumer markets, according to GlobalData.
For example, KT is already exploring offering 5G-enabled entertainment services including 8k mobile video streaming, while SK Telecom and KT are developing driverless car solutions and security platforms based on 5G technologies.