SK Telecom targets 2.5M 5G connections by year-end - Mobile World Live

SK Telecom targets 2.5M 5G connections by year-end

16 OCT 2019

LIVE FROM QUALCOMM 5G SUMMIT 2019, BARCELONA: SK Telecom outlined ambitious targets around its 5G user base, aiming to capitalise on strong growth since it launched commercial service in April.

Jong-Kwan Park, SVP and head of 5GX Labs (pictured), told delegates the South Korean operator had signed up 1.5 million 5G subscribers by early September, half of the country’s total customer count at that point. It aims to lift the number to 2.5 million by the year-end, he said.

Park said sign-up rates have been two-times faster than when 4G launched, citing attractive tariffs as a key factor. The operator initially discounted the cost of 5G by 50 per cent to encourage users to switch.

Despite the discounts, Park said 5G ARPU was already double that of 5G, though he did not give precise figures.

Need for speed
The operator is now working to break through the current maximum download speed of 2.7Gb/s in 2020.

Park illustrated the need for such speeds with a popular feature called multi-view streaming, which allows users to watch multiple live broadcasts of gaming contests on their smartphones.

SK Telecom will achieve the speed bump using carrier aggregation, combining 100MHz of 3.5GHz spectrum with 145MHz of 4G bands. There are also plan to commercialise 800MHz of mmWave spectrum in 2020.

“We are the number one operator in Korea. 5G is not coming to Korea its already in Korea. Going forward we are testing and preparing standalone and mmWave for commercialisation next year to further improve our network.”

Qualcomm paid for travel to this summit. This article reflects honest reporting on the event.

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Manny Pham

Manny joined Mobile World Live in September 2019 as a reporter based in London. He has previous experience in telecoms having worked for B2B publication Mobile News for three years where he climbed up to the position of Features Editor....

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