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Favorable regulatory landscape, increasing machine to machine (M2M) and smartphone subscriptions, and the upcoming 5G technology are set to drive South Korea’s total mobile data revenue from US$13.9bn in 2019 to US$15.5bn in 2024, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.   

According to GlobalData’s Asia-Pacific Mobile Broadband Forecast Pack, the total number of mobile subscriptions in South Korea is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth interest rate (CAGR) of 2.2% from 68.5 million in 2019 to 76.4 million in 2024.

GlobalData’s research reveals that the monthly mobile data usage in South Korea will grow at a CAGR of 12.8% to reach 13.1GB in 2024 due to increase in the consumption of data intensive content  on smartphones. 

Ramya Sindhu, Research Analyst of Telecoms Market Data & Intelligence at GlobalData, says, “Steady rise in smart phone subscriptions, unlimited 5G data plans, high data consumption and wide range of 5G connectivity are the key factors that will drive the mobile data and mobile subscriber growth in South Korea during the outlook period.”

With the rapid expansion of 5G services, the share of 2G, 3G and 4G technologies has already started declining. The 4G subscription share of the total mobile subscriptions will decline from 79.2% in 2019 to 59.6% in 2024. During the same period, 5G subscription share is likely to reach 40.1% as South Korea is an early adopter of the latest communication technology.

Sindhu concludes, “South Korea plans to invest heavily on 5G infrastructure over the next five years to capture 15% of world’s 5G market share. Existing fiber infrastructure will also help in the growth of 5G technology. 

“There will be tough competition in the South Korean telecommunication market as the major mobile operators - SK telecom, KT and LG U+ have started offering low tariff and attractive bundled plans to become market leader in the 5G market. It will be very interesting to see how the operators attract subscribers with their offerings and services in future as 5G is more than smartphone voice and data.”

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