South Korea’s number-one operator SK Telecom has attracted 150,000 subscribers to its LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) network, just two weeks after its launch, reports Yonhap.

SK became the first operator in the world to launch LTE-A commercially on 26 June, offering theoretical peak download speeds of up to 150Mb/s and average download speeds “two times faster than that of LTE”.

SK’s LTE-A service is currently available in Seoul and 42 other cities in South Korea, along with 103 university areas. The company plans to “gradually expand its LTE-A coverage to 84 cities across the nation”.

The rapid take-up is likely to have been driven by the fact that the higher-speed network is available to customers with existing 4G price plans at no additional cost.

The deployment was three months ahead of an earlier promise of September 2013 and the company said it “fiercely competed” with other global operators to be the first to commercialise LTE-Advanced.

According to SK, 13 operators in eight markets have announced plans to roll-out the technology, with four aiming to launch in 2013.

SK said it will launch seven LTE-A compatible smartphones during the second half of 2013 with Samsung already having unveiled its Galaxy S4 LTE-A on the day the new network was launched.

The Korea Times recently reported that SK is negotiating with Apple for the creation of an iPhone 5 with support for LTE-Advanced technology.

According to Yonhap, South Korea’s number-three operator LG Uplus has said it will commercialise its own LTE-Advanced network in Seoul and other major cities during the third quarter of the year.