5G network is gaining much popularity amongst South Koreans, as a recent survey reveals that since its commercialization in April 2019, the user base has increased to about 16 million. Even though there have been no new launches of 5G phones, users are at an all-time high.
The Ministry of Science and ICT data stated that of the country’s total 71.63% mobile subscriptions, about 23% accounted for the 16.47 million 5G users. This number is an increase from the 15.84 million recorded in May 2021.
Most users take SK Telecom
About 7.7 million 5G users reportedly used SK Telecom Co., South Korea’s largest mobile carrier, by subscriptions. KT Corp followed with 5 million users, and LG Uplus Corp reported 3.7 million users.
With Samsung Electronics Co’s foldable 5G phones and Apple Inc’s new iPhones slated for release later this year, subscriptions for 5G phones are likely to increase at a rapid rate.
A report quoted eBEST Investment & Securities analyst Lee Seung-woong as saying, “Net monthly growth in 5G subscribers are expected to rise to around 9000000, with the flagship phones by Samsung and Apple.” When Samsung released its flagship Galaxy S21 in January this year, and Apple released iPhone 12 last October, the monthly net additions reached a staggering 1 million. However, in June, 624000 were recorded.
In March this year, over 1000 5G smartphone users in South Korea were up in arms against the country’s major operators – SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus over a spotty connection and poor quality of the latest network. The users were to participate in the collective lawsuit and sought to seek $890 per user as compensation. Kim Kin-wook, a lawyer who spearheaded the action, said that the 5G network quality did not live up to expectations, just like the 4G LTE version.