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5G base stations account for 11% of total base stations in Korea: Report

The number of 5G base stations in South Korea accounted for 11% of the total base stations in the country at the end of the second quarter, local news agency Yonhap reported, citing data from the Korea Communications Agency.

At the end of June, there were 162,099 5G base stations in South Korea, compared with a total of 1.47 million mobile network base stations.

According to the report, there were approximately 1 million 4G base stations and over 300,000 3G base stations in the country as of the end of Q2.

South Korea aims to establish nationwide 5G coverage by the end of next year.

The country ended July with a total of 17.08 million subscribers in the 5G segment, according to data from the Ministry of Science and ICT.

5G subscribers at the end of July accounted for 24% of the total 71.71 million mobile subscriptions in the country.

The country’s largest carrier, SK Telecom, ended July with over 8 million subscribers in the 5G segment, followed by KT with 5.2 million and LG Uplus with 3.8 million.

According to recent press reports, Korean operators already provide 5G coverage in 85 cities across the country.

An ICT ministry report also found that average 5G download speeds in South Korea reached 808.45 Mbps in the first half of this year, an improvement from 690.47 Mbps in the second half of 2020.

South Korean telecom operators currently provide 5G services via NonStandalone 5G networks, which depend on previous 4G LTE networks. The country’s three carriers launched 5G in April 2019.

In July, South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT announced it will award 28 GHz and sub-6 GHz spectrum in November to boost the use of 5G-related services across the country.

The spectrum will be available for mobile operators and for companies operating in different verticals. The Korean government announced it will make available a total of 600 megahertz in the 28 GHz band and 100 megahertz in the 4.7 GHz band.

The 28 GHz band will be divided into 12 blocks and the 4.7 GHz band into 10 blocks, respectively. The spectrum in the 4.7 GHz band will be offered to non-telecom companies, according to the report.

The ministry said that the allocation of these new frequencies will allow companies to operate 5G networks across various industries and offer new service such as smart factories, healthcare, robotics and smart farms.

Interested firms will have until the end of September to apply for the new 5G spectrum. The length of the licenses ranges from two to five years. The Korean government also said that the 5G spectrum is expected to be allocated by the end of November.


Juan Pedro Tomás
Juan Pedro covers Global Carriers and Global Enterprise IoT. Prior to RCR, Juan Pedro worked for Business News Americas, covering telecoms and IT news in the Latin American markets. He also worked for Telecompaper as their Regional Editor for Latin America and Asia/Pacific. Juan Pedro has also contributed to Latin Trade magazine as the publication's correspondent in Argentina and with political risk consultancy firm Exclusive Analysis, writing reports and providing political and economic information from certain Latin American markets. He has a degree in International Relations and a master in Journalism and is married with two kids.

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