SK Telecom is 5G market leader after one year of 5G service in Korea

SK  Telecom today announced its 5G milestones achieved over the past year since launching the world’s first 5G service on April 3, 2019, along with its plans going forward.

According to the (South) Korean Ministry of Science and ICT released in January 2020, SK Telecom has established itself as the leader in the 5G market with around 2.22 million subscribers and 44.7% market share. With its strong performance in 5G, SK Telecom continues to maintain the unrivaled market leadership it secured since launching the 2G service in (South) Korea.

Photo courtesy of SK Telecom

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SK Telecom has increased customers’ 5G experience and acceptance by creating around 70 5G Clusters* in key commercial districts and densely populated areas throughout the nation. To date, around 1 million customers visited 5G Clusters to experience differentiated 5G services including ‘Jump AR Zoo’ and ‘5G LoL Park.’

*5G Clusters are built with more base stations than other 5G coverage areas to offer optimal 5G environment for services like AR and VR.

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Highlights:

  • Since launching the world’s first 5G service on April 3, 2019, the company continues to maintain its leadership in the Korean mobile market backed by 44.7% 5G market share
  • Over the past year, the company expanded its business to new areas by leveraging its strength in 5G
  • SK Telecom also pronounced its plans to offer the best 5G services through hyper-collaboration
  • Its plans include delivering new customer experience through mobile cloud gaming services, mixed reality contents and quantum-safe mobile devices; expanding enterprise business such as 5G MEC-based cloud business and 5G smart factory; and strengthening its 5G network by building more 5G Clusters and expanding 5G network coverage

According to SK Telecom’s analysis on 5G subscribers, people in their 30s and 40s are taking up 53% of the company’s total 5G subscriber base, which is significantly higher than the proportion of people in their 30s and 40s in total LTE subscriber base, which currently stands at 32%.

The total amount of data consumption of SK Telecom’s 5G subscribers reached 62,000 TB on average per month over the past three months (Dec. 2019 ~ Feb. 2020). During the same period, the average monthly data usage of subscribers who switched devices from LTE to 5G has increased about twofold from 14.5 GB (LTE) to 28.5 GB (5G) per person.

SK Telecom’s 5G subscribers are found to be using media services, which generally require greater speeds and bandwidths, much more actively than LTE subscribers. As of February 2020, 5G subscribers are using 7 times more VR services, 3.6 times more video steaming services and 2.7 times more game apps than LTE subscribers.

Moreover, armed with its strong capabilities in 5G, SK Telecom has successfully expanded into new business areas. The company is cooperating with Microsoft and Amazon Web Services in the area of cloud, and has ventured into the U.S. next-generation broadcasting (ATSC 3.0) market with Sinclair Broadcast Group.

SK Telecom also shared its experience and knowhow in 5G with other mobile operators across the globe including Deutsche Telekom, Taiwan Mobile and IT&E.

Going forward, SK Telecom aims to earn the title of the world’s best 5G service provider through hyper-collaboration with strong global companies. At CES 2020, SK Telecom’s President and CEO Park Jung-ho suggested “Hyper-Collaboration” with diverse Korean ICT companies to achieve innovations in areas including artificial intelligence.

For consumers, SK Telecom will focus on providing differentiated 5G services that innovate user experience through borderless collaboration with diverse ICT companies including cloud service providers, device manufacturers and telecommunications companies.

SK Telecom will continue to work closely with Microsoft to prepare mobile cloud streaming games and will also open ‘Jump Studio,’ a mixed-reality content production facility.

SK Telecom and Microsoft are currently providing 92 different games through Project xCloud. Cloud gaming service is being highlighted as the ‘game changer’ that will shift the paradigm in the gaming industry by enabling users to play high quality, premium games anywhere, anytime by accessing the cloud server.

Jump Studio will provide solutions that enable the creation of 3D content like holograms by combining the technological strengths of augmented and virtual reality technologies. SK Telecom expects Jump Studio to accelerate the popularization of realistic media by significantly reducing time and cost for content creation.

SK Telecom plans to release mobile device applied with global leading quantum cryptography technologies and provide advanced security solutions to 5G users.

In B2B, SK Telecom announced its vision of expanding the enterprise business in full scale by marking 2020 as the first year of its B2B business. To this end, the company will work closely with companies of diverse industries to serve as a catalyst for industrial innovations in Korea.

SK Telecom plans to build 5G MEC (Mobile Edge Computing) Centers in 12 different locations across Korea to lead a cloud-driven industrial revolution. To this end, the company is preparing to launch nationwide 5G edge cloud service by joining hands with global leading cloud companies such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft.

5G edge cloud, once commercialized, will provide ultra-low latency connectivity for services like unmanned delivery robots and telemedicine, thereby bringing unprecedented changes to all industries including manufacturing, distribution and healthcare.

Moreover, SK Telecom plans to deploy a private 5G network at SK Hynix’s semiconductor manufacturing facility to realize 5G smart factory that can lead to a supercycle in the semiconductor industry. The company is planning to add cutting-edge ICT including AI video analytics and AR technology to its 5G network.

SK Telecom is also cooperating with Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) to realize 5G smart power plant. It will first upgrade real-time drone monitoring system for dams, remote water level monitoring system, and situation sharing system by applying private 5G network and quantum cryptography technologies to KHNP’s hydro-electric/ pumped storage power plant.

Furthermore, the company will continue to work closely with Seoul Metropolitan Government to accelerate the C-ITS (Cooperative Intelligent Transportation System) project by applying Road Learner, which consists of 5G ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) and Live HD Map Update solution. 5G ADAS and Live HD Map Update solution are key technologies for autonomous driving as 5G ADAS improves driving safety through features including lane departure warning and forward collision avoidance, and Live HD Map Update solution reflects road situations to HD maps in real time.

In 2020, SK Telecom will bring the total number of its 5G Clusters to 240 and expand 5G coverage to neighborhoods (‘dong’) of 85 cities nationwide by working closely with telecommunications equipment manufacturers.

The company will also secure indoor coverage for a total of 2,000 buildings, including not just airports, department stores and large shopping malls but also small-to medium-sized buildings, by applying its sophisticated 5G in-building solutions.

SK Telecom was able to secure new business opportunities ahead of others by achieving the world’s first 5G commercialization,” said Ryu Young-sang, Vice President and Head of MNO Business of SK Telecom. “We are confident that the 5G business models to be launched this year will drive the company’s growth over the next decade.”

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About SK Telecom:

SK Telecom is Korea’s leading ICT company, driving innovations in the areas of mobile communications, media, security, commerce and mobility. Armed with cutting-edge ICT including AI and 5G, the company is ushering in a new level of convergence to deliver unprecedented value to customers. As the global 5G pioneer, SK Telecom is committed to realizing the full potential of 5G through ground-breaking services that can improve people’s lives, transform businesses, and lead to a better society.

SK Telecom boasts unrivaled leadership in the Korean mobile market with over 30 million subscribers, which account for nearly 50 percent of the market. The company now has 47 ICT subsidiaries and annual revenues approaching KRW 17.8 trillion.

For more information, please contact skt_press@sk.com or sktelecom@bcw-global.com.

Media Contact

Yong-jae Lee

SK Telecom Co., Ltd.

(822) 6100 3838

yjlee6880@sk.com

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Local carriers SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus had initially launched limited 5G commercial services in December 2018 as part of an agreement with the ICT ministry to launch simultaneously to avoid excessive competition. SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus initially offered the 5G service in limited areas in Seoul.

SK Telecom and Samsung Bring South Korea Closer to 5G Standalone Commercialization

The two companies successfully completed interoperability test between 5G Standalone Core and Commercial Network Solutions (based on 3GPP Release 15 which is not 3GPP’s final submission to ITU-R for IMT 2020 RIT/SRITs.

SK Telecom and Samsung Electronics today announced the successful completion of South Korea’s first interoperability assessment between 5G Standalone (SA) Core and other commercial network systems over a pre-standard 5G network. This successful result brings the two companies one step closer to 5G SA commercialization.

The 5G SA Core, jointly developed by SK Telecom and Samsung Electronics, not only supports technologies including network slicing and function modularization based on 3GPP standards, but also offers additional functions that operators have been using since LTE, include billing, subscriber management and operational convenience system. The interoperability assessment is the final stage for verifying the validity of 5G SA data transmission, signifying that the SA system is ready to be launched for commercial service.

Both companies implemented several cutting-edge technologies in the 5G SA Core that has been used for the interoperability. The technologies include Data Parallel Processing technology that performs QoS and transmission control simultaneously; Data Acceleration technology that classifies and distributes similar traffic types; and Path Optimization technology that automatically delivers data traffic to Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) platform.

“Along with the initial phase of NSA rollout, SK Telecom has been continuously focusing on researching and developing the SA technology in order to provide customers a differentiated service quality with innovative products, which will be launched in the first half of next year,” said Park Jin-hyo, Chief Technology Officer and Head of ICT R&D Center at SK Telecom. “By strengthening bilateral collaboration with Samsung, SK Telecom will drive and lead highly innovative 5G technologies and solutions.”

“The fundamental structure of 5G SA is built on a completely new configuration, successfully delivering the most optimized 5G service to customers and enterprises across numerous industries,” said Jaeho Jeon, Executive Vice President and Head of R&D, Networks Business at Samsung Electronics. “Maintaining Korea’s leadership in network innovations through continuous investments in next-generation technologies is important to Samsung and SK Telecom, and the companies will continue to collaborate on developing and commercializing 5G SA.”

Once 5G SA is commercialized, data processing efficient will be improved by threefold, allowing efficient control for supporting massive data traffic. Moreover, 5G SA system is highly optimized for emerging next generation services such as Autonomous driving, Smart Factory, Smart Farm, and AR/VR.

For the past five years, the two companies have been collaborating on LTE and 5G development, which ultimately led to this successful 5G SA Core interoperability test. Some of other accomplishments include the commercialization of Virtualized LTE Core and Packet Optimization system; and they have completed the development of 3GPP Rel. 15 based SA Core in July last year, and successfully launched 5G NSA commercial service in April this year.

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About SK Telecom:

SK Telecom is the largest mobile operator in Korea with nearly 50 percent of the market share. As the pioneer of all generations of mobile networks, the company has commercialized the fifth generation (5G) network on December 1, 2018 and announced the first 5G smartphone subscribers on April 3, 2019. With its world’s best 5G, SK Telecom is set to realize the Age of Hyper-Innovation by transforming the way customers work, live and play.

Building on its strength in mobile services, the company is also creating unprecedented value in diverse ICT-related markets including media, security and commerce.

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For more information, please contact:

skt_press@sk.com or sktelecom@bcw-global.com.

 

Media Contact

Yong-jae Lee

SK Telecom Co. Ltd.

(822) 6100 3838

(8210) 3129 6880

yjlee6880@sk.com

Irene Kim

SK Telecom Co. Ltd.

(822) 6100 3867

(8210) 8936 0062

gahaekim@sk.com

Ha-young Lee

BCW Korea

(822) 3782 6421

Hayoung.Lee@bcw-global.com