South Korea has transformed its economy to one that is more progressively knowledge based. Having invested significantly in ‘basic’ telecommunications infrastructure over past decades, the country has well developed submarine cable and satellite infrastructure as well as solid internet resources to support the growing demand for national and international communications.

South Korea has one of the world’s most active telecommunications and Information Technology (IT) markets backed by strong support from the government. As well as the commitment of the government, the sector is boosted by an innovative private sector and a technologically savvy population. Spending on ICT and high-technology equipment helped lead a transformation of the economy. The government aims to transform the country into a knowledge-based information society in a ‘smart-age’.

By 2016, KT was still the largest telephone and fixed-line company. With declining revenues from its fixed-line services, the company has forged ahead with IPTV and LTE. Competition with LG U+ and SK Broadband had intensified on many fronts ranging from IPTV to VoIP. In order to maintain market share it had become an imperative for KT to offer bundled solutions and therefore ramp up its VoIP capabilities.

South Korea’s mobile market has slow growth over the last few years due to a highly mature market. Organic growth by the three main mobile operators, together with the multitude of niche MVNOs will result in further growth to 2017 however growth rates will taper off further over the next few years as the market further matures. By 2015 SK Telecom was the market leader followed KT and LG Telecom.

New investments are intended to drive revenue and gain market share and recent years has seen the launch of LTE and the rapid increase in smartphone adoption.

South Korea has the world’s highest number of broadband services per capita. Into 2013 over 37% of the population and 95% of households were broadband subscribers. FttX accounted for 60% of total subscriptions. Korea’s policy emphasis has been to establish an Ultra Broadband convergence Network (UBcN) with 1Gb/s speeds on fixed lines and 10Mb/s on wireless by 2015.
VoIP services are becoming increasingly popular as operators bundle services in a bid to stop the decline in ARPU. The operators continue to invest heavily in fibre based broadband deployments and IPTV subscriptions have passed the 5 million mark as more content is available and the operators are able to compete more effectively with live broadcasts.

The widespread adoption of the Internet in South Korea coupled with the continued pace of development has resulted in an exciting digital economy. This report looks at various aspects of the digital economy in South Korea that support the drive to converged services. It includes information on e-commerce users, e-banking and e-government. This report also contains information on internet usage pattern.

For more information see - South Korea - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses