The number of 5G subscribers in South Korea stood at 9.98 million as of the end of October, up 735,113 from the previous month, local press reported, citing data from the Ministry of Science and ICT.
According to the reports, 5G subscribers accounted for 14.2% of the country’s mobile subscriptions.
Apple launched its new iPhone 12 series smartphones in the Korean market on October 30. The iPhone 12 series devices support the latest generation network and will likely boost the country’s migration to 5G, according to the reports.
Since their release in South Korea, Apple is estimated to have sold around 600,000 iPhone 12 series models.
The country’s 4G subscriptions continued to decline, reaching 53.9 million at the end of October, down 397,118 from the previous month.
However, a high number of mobile users in Korea have complained about the quality of the nation’s 5G service, according to recent reports. Users say that the 5G services offered by the country’s three carriers have poor quality, slow connections and lack applications that use the new technology.
More than 560,000 5G subscribers in Korea have switched back to LTE services, according to data released by a ruling party lawmaker on October 7.
The country’s three operators launched 5G technology in April 2019, and 5G networks are available mostly in large cities. The government has previously said that carriers have already deployed over 115,000 5G base stations.
In July, Korean mobile operators SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus agreed to invest a total of KRW 25.7 trillion ($22 billion) through 2022 to boost 5G infrastructure across the country.
This investment primarily focuses on enhancing 5G quality in Seoul and six other metropolitan cities. The investment plan also stipulates the deployment of 5G in 2,000 multi-purpose facilities, on Seoul Metro lines 2 and 9 and along major highways. In 2021, the carriers committed to expand 5G connectivity to an additional 85 districts, including 4,000 multi-purpose facilities, subways and all train stations, as well as 20 additional highways.
Korea’s main telecom operators expect to commercialize an ultrafast mmWave 5G network yet this year, according to previous reports.
The mmWave 5G service will be initially available for the business-to-business segment. Operators have not yet finalized investment plans for the business-to-consumer sector, as the cost of building additional infrastructure still represents a major issue, according to the reports.
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