In 2016, South Korea generated telecom service revenue of US$32.3bn (W37,519bn), equivalent to 2.3% of nominal GDP, a decline of -1.7% since 2015, due to a massive decline in voice services revenue. However, in local currency its revenue increased by 0.9% over 2015. The mobile market continues to be the largest contributor to total market revenue, accounting for 60.3% of overall telecom revenue in 2016.
It is expected that overall service revenue to decline at a CAGR of -0.5% (or a lethargic growth of 0.8% CAGR in South Korean won) during 2016-2021 due to a huge decline in mobile voice services as well as in the fixed circuit-switched segment. Mobile data revenue will see steady growth due to a rise in consumption of online content on mobile devices backed by proliferation of low-cost smartphones and improved LTE-A networks. In line with this, the fixed/mobile revenue split will be dominated by the mobile segment through 2016-2021.
4G remains the most adopted technology in South Korea, accounting for 75.8% of mobile subscriptions in 2016, but its share will decline to 64.7% by 2021 due to the launch of commercial 5G networks starting in 2018. We expect 5G will account for 33.7% of mobile subscriptions by the end of 2021. Broadband lines will register a 2.3% CAGR through 2021 supported by developments in fiber-optic networks. Fixed broadband services revenue growth will be sustained by a steady rise in consumption of high-bandwidth content aided by increasing FTTx subscriptions enabled by operator and government efforts to enhance fiber networks.
The top two operators, KT and SK Telecom, which provide fixed, mobile services and pay-TV, accounted for 69.1% of total service revenue in 2016. The author expects both operators to maintain leadership positions through 2021 but will see a decline in their share due to increasing competition from LG U+. Operators continue to compete on network, value-added services, price and IoT projects.
The report "South Korea: Operator Investments in 5G and Fiber to Support Growth of IPTV and New Value-Added Services" provides an executive-level overview of the telecommunications market in South Korea today, with detailed forecasts of key indicators up to 2021. Published annually, the report provides detailed analysis of the near-term opportunities, competitive dynamics and evolution of demand by service type and technology/platform across the fixed telephony, broadband, and mobile, as well as a review of key regulatory trends.
In particular, this report provides the following analysis
- Regional context: Telecom market size and trends in South Korea compared with other countries in the region.
- The regulatory environment and trends: A review of the regulatory setting and agenda for the next 18-24 months as well as relevant developments pertaining to spectrum licensing, national broadband plans, number portability and more.
- A demand profile: Analysis as well as historical figures and forecasts of service revenue from the fixed telephony, broadband, mobile voice, and mobile data markets.
- Service evolution: A look at changes in the breakdown of overall revenue between the fixed and mobile sectors and between voice, data and video from 2016 to 2021.
- The competitive landscape: An examination of key trends in competition and in the performance, revenue market shares and expected moves of service providers over the next 18-24 months.
- In-depth sector analysis of fixed telephony, broadband, mobile voice, and mobile data services: A quantitative analysis of service adoption trends by network technology and by operator, as well as of average revenue per line/subscription and service revenue through the end of the forecast period.
- Overall telecom service revenue in South Korea will decline at a CAGR of -0.5% during 2016-2021, mainly affected by declining voice revenue. Growth in the data services segment will also fail to offset declining voice services. The demand for high bandwidth online content and OTT services will be a key driver for the growth of mobile data in South Korea.
- Mobile revenue will account for 60.3% of total telecom revenue in 2021; mobile data will witness a CAGR of 1.5% during 2016-2021.
- The top two operators, KT and SK Telecom, accounted for 69.1% share of overall service revenue in 2016. We expect competition to intensify as operators are investing in 5G and fixed broadband.
- This Country Intelligence Report offers a thorough, forward-looking analysis of South Korea's telecommunications markets, service providers and key opportunities in a concise format to help executives build proactive and profitable growth strategies.
- Accompanying the author’s Forecast products, the report examines the assumptions and drivers behind ongoing and upcoming trends in South Korea's mobile communications, fixed telephony, broadband markets, including the evolution of service provider market shares.
- With more than 20 charts and tables, the report is designed for an executive-level audience, boasting presentation quality.
- The report provides an easily digestible market assessment for decision-makers built around in-depth information gathered from local market players, which enables executives to quickly get up to speed with the current and emerging trends in South Korea's telecommunications markets.
- The broad perspective of the report coupled with comprehensive, actionable detail will help operators, equipment vendors and other telecom industry players succeed in the challenging telecommunications market in South Korea.
Market and competitor overview
Economic, demographic and political context
Major market players
Opportunities in the market
About the authors
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