South Korea has garnered 260,000 subscribers in its first month after deploying 5G wireless network, the government has announced.
The Ministry of Science and ICT said it had that amount of 5G subscribers as of April 30. The country deployed the next-generation network on April 3 to clinch the "world's first" title from US-based Verizon.
The announcement has also inadvertently shown how many Samsung Galaxy S10 5G devices have been sold as it is currently the only smartphone supporting the next-generation network.
KT, the country's second largest mobile carrier, announced that it had secured 100,000 subscribers, putting it in the leading position. SK Telecom and LG Uplus, the first and third largest carriers respectively, did not reveal their subscriber numbers.
KT has been the most aggressive so far at pushing 5G by offering an unlimited data plan to 5G users.
Telcos in South Korea are also looking for new growth in areas outside of consumers. SK Telecom announced a series of deals to use its 5G network for applications across smart cities, autonomous vehicles, and connected hospitals, while LG Uplus has successfully trialled self-driving cars on roads in Seoul that use its 5G network.
There were concerns initially over the quality of 5G connection but they have abated as the number of radio stations for coverage has increased. The Ministry said there were 50,512 radio stations last week and that figure increased to 54,202 this week. Most of these radio stations are being supplied by Samsung Electronics, making it the leader ahead of rivals Nokia, Ericsson, and Huawei.
Samsung's dual dominance of Galaxy S10 5G and its network equipment in its home country will be an important platform for the South Korean tech giant to expand globally.
The conglomerate has also announced it will invest 133 trillion won for the next ten years in logic chips with the aim to becoming global leader.
The mobile unit lost 790 billion won in 2018.
Samsung has posted operating profits of 6.23 trillion won for the first quarter of 2019, its lowest since the 2016 Galaxy Note 7 recall, with the company attributing the decline to lowered demand for memory chips.
SK Telecom has signed a series of MOUs to partner on smart cities, smart hospitals, smart offices, and self-driving infrastructure backed by its 5G mobile network in Korea.
South Korean giant has shipped over 53,000 base stations to local telcos.
Samsung has begun mass production for its 5G chips as it attempts to have an early impact in the shaping the next-generation network.
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