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Two perspectives on 5G 'World's best' 'There is still a way to go'

2021년 4월 1일

2 years of commercialization 13 million subscribers, one-fifth use

Efforts to improve service quality and expand rate plans

The world's first commercialized 5G (5G) mobile communication service in Korea celebrates its 2nd anniversary on the 3rd of this month. Although there is controversy over service quality and high price, telecommunication companies are continuing their efforts to improve coverage and quality, and continue to launch new rate plans to expand customer options.

◇ 13 million subscribers within 2 years of commercialization, 20% of the total

According to the Ministry of Science and ICT on the 1st, domestic 5G subscribers reached 13.66 million as of the end of February. It surpassed 10 million in November last year and is increasing by 1 million every month. About 20% of domestic mobile communication subscribers are using 5G services.

Among 5G subscribers, SK Telecom has the largest number of customers with 6.35 million. It was followed by KT (4.1 million) and LG U+ (3.15 million).

Although there are still many controversies, 5G service quality is improving compared to the early days. According to the quality evaluation results announced by the Ministry of Science and ICT in December last year, the 5G coverage of the three mobile carriers covers Seoul, six major cities, and 78 states.

As of the second half of last year, 5G speeds were calculated to be 609 to 796 Mbps for download and 60 to 70 Mbps for upload. This is a slight improvement from 529-789 Mbps download and 53-76 Mbps upload in the first half of last year.

5G coverage is expected to expand to downtown areas and major infrastructures in 78 cities with floating population this year as domestic telecommunication companies continue to invest and expand their coverage. By the end of next year, 5G coverage is expected to reach 85 cities, counties, and wards in Eup, Myeon, and Dong.

In order to rapidly expand 5G coverage and quality, the three telecommunication companies have been discussing the promotion of a '5G common network' with a government-supported TF since September last year.

Prior to this, the three telecommunication companies installed 5G base stations in subways in the metropolitan area. As soon as the government-led TF is decided, telecommunication companies plan to expand their coverage step by step through the establishment of a common network.

◇ SKT to improve 5G quality and diversify rate plans

SK Telecom, the No. 1 player in the mobile communication market share, is increasing the speed of 5G services by establishing MEC (Mobile Edge Computing) by selecting 12 major base regions across the country.

In addition, through the 'NGMN Alliance' operated by global telecommunication companies such as Deutsche Telekom in Germany and BT in the UK, the '5G Option 4' white paper, the next-generation standard for 5G, is published to improve quality.

Option 4 is a next-generation 5G standard SA (Stand Alone) technology that can provide services combined with LTE networks. It is also a standard SA (Stand Alone) technology that can provide services combined with LTE networks.

With the launch of a new rate plan, customers are expanding their choice of rate plans. SK Telecom will launch two new rate plans on the 1st, providing 110GB of data at 69,000 won per month and 250GB of data at 79,000 won per month.

Accordingly, the 5G plan has increased from 5 to 12 types. The 5G rate plan lineup has been expanded to 9 types including '0 Teen 5G' for teenagers at 40,000 won and 3 types of 'untact plan' that can be subscribed online.

◇ Content development and social value enhancement activities

5G services and contents for users are also being developed. Considering that 5G is a communication service capable of convergence services combining video, cloud, and AI, related services are being created.

In particular, in the case of 5G-based large-capacity video service, it is focusing on developing MR services such as AR and VR, and is producing various results. The Jump VR app, launched in 2019, has been providing a service that broadcasts unmanned matches of popular e-sports such as LCK (League of Legends Champions Korea) and Kart Rider since last year, and the number of users is rapidly increasing.

SK Telecom is actively expanding the VR contents of the Jump VR app in cooperation with venture game companies, medical institutions, and VR video production companies.

In addition, it is carrying out activities to enhance social value based on 5G technology and service competitiveness. In October last year, an event was held to introduce UNESCO World Heritage sites to the world through 5G technology together with the Korean National Commission for UNESCO and Magenta Company.

SK Telecom is collaborating with global telecommunication companies and big tech companies based on the technology and service know-how that achieved the world's first 5G commercialization.

To this end, it has decided to cooperate with the Bridge Alliance, the largest telecommunication company alliance in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, to establish a communication environment in which 5G services can easily connect with other countries, such as roaming.

This year, it is taking the lead in 5G MEC cooperation, such as freely uploading and downloading 5G service apps to 5G MEC hubs in partnership with Australian telecom operator Optus and Thai telecommunication company AIS.

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