Korea pours $4b a year into 4G LTE networks

Major investments in long-term evolution (LTE) networks are required to keep abreast of 61 percent increases in traffic, reports ZDNet Korea’s Jaehwan Cho.

According to a July 21 research note by KT Economics & Management Research Laboratory, Korean telcos SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus made combined average investments on wireless networks valued at 5 trillion won ($4 billion) a year from 2011 to 2013.

Investments peaked in 2012 when the three telcos invested a combined 6 trillion won ($5 billion) when they were close to completing their nationwide LTE networks.

The spending is double the average annual investments of 3 trillion won ($2 billion) on third-generation (3G) networks in the five year period from 2006 to 2010.

The research institute says it expects investments to rise further in the near future as LTE traffic continues to show a steep rise.

It said 69,000 terabytes of data were transferred during April this year, a rise of 61.4 percent from a year ago, according to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.

The institute added that new unlimited data price plans released by the carriers will further increase traffic, which will burden the carriers with more investments for maintenance.

Source: ZDNet Korea (zdnet.co.kr)