Korea secures 260K 5G subscribers in first month

KT has secured 100,000 5G subscribers, putting it ahead of SK Telecom and LG Uplus in the race to gain 5G subscribers.

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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.

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