South Korea’s government stated 260,000 subscribers had signed up for 5G in the country, weeks after operators launched commercial mobile services powered by the technology.

The Ministry of Science and ICT revealed the figure in a statement, while noting that complaints had been raised by consumers over the coverage and speed of 5G.

A specific concern appears to relate to mobile devices displaying a 5G symbol when users on LTE are in the vicinity of base stations compatible with the next-generation technology. The Ministry added such grievances were widely expected in the initial stages of launch, as operators are still in the process of building 5G base stations and upgrading software.

It noted mobile operators SK Telecom (SKT), KT and LG Uplus had already agreed to work on the 5G symbol problem, while the Ministry itself plans to develop and distribute software “so that the actual service can be clearly indicated” this month.

A total of 54,202 5G base stations have been deployed so far, an increase of 7 per cent from 22 April, however coverage in the country was still restricted to urban and more populous areas.

Mobile 5G
South Korean operators revealed pricing plans for 5G services on 3 April, two days before Samsung put its Galaxy S10 5G smartphone up for sale in the country.

With the launch, Korea was among the first in the world to deliver mobile 5G to consumers on a commercial smartphone.

The move came four months after operators launched commercial 5G services to businesses using mobile routers.

It is unclear if the 260,000 figure relates solely to mobile subscribers, or if it also includes customers on the country’s initial 5G launch through mobile routers.

KT, the country’s second largest operator, has however announced it secured 100,000 subscribers so far. SKT and LG Uplus are yet to reveal their figures.