All three major mobile operators in South Korea are expected to shift to usage-based tariffs when they launch 5G services, in an attempt to reignite revenue growth as they invest heavily to upgrade their networks, Yonhap News Agency reported.
The news agency cited a report from Hana Financial Investment which stated SK Telecom (SKT), KT and LG Uplus will likely move away from flat-rate pricing. Kim Hong-sik, an analyst at the company, told Yonhap News Agency: “There is a high possibility that mobile carriers may change their current high-definition content into UHD or virtual reality, which will inevitably lead to an increase in traffic and jack up their sales sharply.”
FnGuide in March forecast consolidated revenue of the three South Korea-based operators would increase just 0.3 per cent year-on-year to KRW53.4 trillion ($49.5 billion) this year. Both SKT and KT reported declines in service revenue in Q1.
But Hana Financial Investment, in a separate report, predicted operators’ revenue will grow 20 per cent annually after they introduce 5G services, with their combined operating income increasing 70 per cent to KRW6.2 trillion between 2018 and 2020, Yonhap News Agency reported.
Communications minister Yoo Young-min in January asked the country’s three major wireless operators to collaborate on 5G technology to meet a previously agreed timeline for commercial operations in 2019.
KT, the second largest operator in the country, deployed pre-standard 5G at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February in preparation for using 3.5GHz spectrum as the dominant band for a launch of non-standalone 5G in March 2019.
The Ministry of Science and ICT will auction spectrum in the 3.5GHz and 28GHz bands in June.