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Korea’s SK Telecom Ends February With 2.2 Million 5G Subscribers

Korean carrier SK Telecom ended January with a total of 2.2 million subscribers in the 5G segment, according to the Korean Ministry of Science and ICT.

This figure represented a market share of 44.7% in the 5G segment.

SK Telecom said it has increased customers’ 5G experience and acceptance by creating around 70 5G “clusters” in key commercial districts and densely populated areas throughout the country. To date, around 1 million customers visited 5G clusters to experience differentiated 5G services, the carrier said.

SK Telecom noted that its 5G clusters are built with more base stations than other 5G coverage areas to offer an optimal 5G environment for services like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

The total amount of data consumption of SK Telecom’s 5G subscribers reached 62,000 TB on average per month over the past three months (December. 2019-February 2020). During the same period, the average monthly data usage of subscribers who switched devices from LTE to 5G has increased from 14.5 GB (LTE) to 28.5 GB (5G) per person.

As of February 2020, 5G subscribers are using 7 times more virtual reality services, 3.6 times more video steaming services and 2.7 times more game apps than LTE subscribers, the carrier said.

SK Telecom also highlighted that it has shared its experience in the 5G field with other mobile operators, across the globe including Deutsche Telekom, Taiwan Mobile and IT&E.

Going forward, SK Telecom said it will focus on providing differentiated 5G services trough collaboration with diverse ICT companies including cloud service providers, device manufacturers and telecommunications companies.

SK Telecom will continue to work closely with Microsoft to prepare mobile cloud streaming games and will also open “Jump Studio,” a mixed-reality content production facility.

SK Telecom and Microsoft are currently providing 92 different games through Project xCloud. Cloud gaming service is being highlighted as the “game changer” that will shift the paradigm in the gaming industry by enabling users to play high quality, premium games anywhere, anytime by accessing the cloud server, according to the carrier.

SK Telecom also plans to build 5G MEC (Mobile Edge Computing) Centers in 12 different locations across Korea. To this end, the company is preparing to launch nationwide 5G edge cloud service by joining hands with global leading cloud companies such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft.

5G edge cloud, once commercialized, will provide ultra-low latency connectivity for services like unmanned delivery robots and telemedicine, thereby bringing unprecedented changes to all industries including manufacturing, distribution and healthcare, SK Telecom said.

In 2020, SK Telecom said it will bring the total number of its 5G clusters to 240 and expand 5G coverage to certain districts in 85 cities nationwide.

The company will also secure indoor coverage for a total of 2,000 buildings, including airports, department stores and large shopping malls as well as small-to medium-sized buildings, by applying its 5G in-building solutions.

South Korea claimed to be the first country in the world to launch full 5G commercial services on April 3, 2019.

Local carriers SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus had initially launched limited 5G commercial services in December 2018 as part of an agreement with the ICT ministry to launch simultaneously to avoid excessive competition. SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus initially offered the 5G service in limited areas in Seoul.

―RCR Wireless News

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