Fast Market Research recommends "South Korea Telecommunications Report Q1 2013" from Business Monitor International, now available
Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/05/2013 -- BMI View: South Korea is one of the world's most developed telecoms markets, with LTE launched by all three main operators by the end of 2011. Early data on LTE growth suggest subscribers have enthusiastically upgraded their services, which bodes well for operators that have suffered from regulatory intervention over pricing and their hold on the market. Operators benefit from subscribers preferring postpaid platforms, encouraging strong revenues and relatively stable ARPUs.
- Q312 marked the first quarter of negative growth in the fixed broadband market and we have revised forecasts downwards as a result. We expect the market will expand by just 0.5% in 2012, with a penetration of 36.9%. We expect the market will begin to decline from 2013 and that fixed broadband penetration will sink to 34% by 2017.
- The fixed-line market is still expanding, but at a slower pace than expected by BMI. Our downwards revisions to forecasts envisage fixed-line penetration of 56.2% by YE12, falling to a still healthy 55.5% at YE17.
- LTE subscriptions reached 8.7mn in July 2012, impacting the market's 3G outlook as early adopters of 3G services upgrade to LTE.
- LG Uplus continued to boost its ARPU and was the strongest driver of subscriber takeup of the three mobile operators in Q312.
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SK Telecom is now the country's only 2G operator after KT shut its network in Q312. Although the operator is seeing 2G subscriber numbers decline, 2G still accounts for nearly 20% of its customer base with over 5mn subscribers, and we expect it will be some time before it is able to close the service.
In November 2012, SK Telecom said it had successfully demonstrated Uplink Cooperative Multi-Point (Uplink CoMP) technology in partnership with Ericsson. The two companies began developing the technology in July 2011 and claim it can significantly improve LTE data upload speeds in base station boundary areas. The technology is expected to be commercially available in mid-2013.
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