South Korean mobile operator KT expects to end this year with a total of 1.5 million subscribers in the 5G segment, the operator’s CFO Yoon Kyung-keun said during a conference call with investors.
According to KT’s latest earnings report, the telco ended the third quarter of the year with 1.06 million 5G subscribers, an increase of 151.6% compared to 419,000 5G customers in the previous quarter.
KT also said that the penetration of 5G technology reached 4.8% of the telco’s overall subscriber base. The executive also highlighted that 85% of 5G customers signed up for the top-tier unlimited plans.
KT posted its first year-on-year increase in mobile service revenue in seven quarters, mainly due to the rapid adoption of 5G services and higher ARPU.
In the third quarter of the year, mobile service revenue grew by 1% to KRW1.66 trillion ($1.43 billion).
The Korean operator launched commercial 5G services in the country in early April. KT is the second largest carrier in the Asian country, with nearly 31% share of the mobile market.
According to previous reports, KT aims to have its 5G commercial offering available in 85 major cities nationwide by the end of this year, covering the country’s key transportation routes, including two major highways, six airports, and the ground section of high-speed railways. The company plans to expand the coverage to subways, public offices and university hospitals.
South Korean market leader SK Telecom said it reached the 1.5 million 5G subscriber milestone by the end of September. The company’s 5G subscribers currently represent nearly 44% of the country’s overall 5G subscriber base. SK Telecom also said it aims to end this year with over 2 million 5G subscribers and reach 7 million 5G customers by end-2020.
Meanwhile, LG Uplus, South Korea’s third-largest telco, had reported a total of 540,000 5G subscribers on its 5G network at the end of August. The telco’s 5G network includes around 50,000 5G base stations in Seoul and surrounding areas, as well as some metropolitan cities. The operator is aiming to deploy 80,000 base stations across South Korea and cover 90% of the population by the end of 2019.
South Korea claimed to be the first country in the world to launch full 5G commercial services on April 3. 5G coverage in Korea is restricted to urban areas and places where there are a large number of people.
The three Korean carriers launched limited 5G commercial services in December 2018 as part of an agreement with the ICT ministry to launch simultaneously to avoid excessive competition. The three mobile carriers initially launched the 5G service in limited areas in Seoul
In June 2018, South Korea completed a tender process through which it awarded spectrum in both the 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz bands. The government made available a total of 280 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz spectrum band and 2,400 megahertz in the 28 GHz band. The spectrum was divided into 28 blocks and 24 blocks.
Participant operators SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus had a 10-block cap per spectrum band. The telcos paid a total of 3.6183 trillion won ($3.3 billion) for the spectrum, 340 billion won higher than the starting price of 3.3 trillion won.
The 3.5 GHz band licenses covering a ten-year period and the 28 GHz band licenses a five-year term.
The post KT targets 1.5 million 5G subscribers by year end: CFO appeared first on RCR Wireless News.