5G growing faster than expected, and Korea leads

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5G growing faster than expected, and Korea leads

The 5G wireless network is expanding faster than the industry had expected, and Korea is leading the market, according to a report from Ericsson.

The number of 5G subscribers globally is expected to hit 10 million by the end of the year, according to the Swedish technology company’s forecast. Around 30 percent of the subscribers are expected to be from Korea.

“The expansion of the 5G network in Korea is expected to be faster than elsewhere because Korea was the first country to start the network,” said Park Byoung-seong, network consultant at Ericsson-LG at a press event held in central Seoul on Monday. “Korea’s 5G expansion speed will exceed the U.S. market’s. The massive subscription rate isn’t expected in the United States, since the network in the country is adopted by cities unlike in Korea, where the network is being installed nationwide.”

The Korean government’s goal with 5G is to cover 93 percent of the population by the end of the year. The Ministry of Science and ICT confirmed earlier this month that the number of 5G service subscribers in Korea broke one million as of June 10.

“But from the global perspective, Korean telecommunications market is small,” Park added.

According to the company’s report, 5G subscription take-up is expected to be faster than in the case 4G. In 2024, 5G subscriptions will have reached 1.9 billion globally. The outlook is higher than the 1.5 billion Ericsson forecast in November.

By regions, 63 percent of the 5G subscription by 2024 will be in North America, followed by 47 percent in North East Asia and 40 percent in Western Europe.

“5G is definitely taking off and at a rapid pace,” said Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Networks, Ericsson.

“5G will have a positive impact on people’s lives and businesses, realizing gains beyond IoT and the fourth industrial revolution. However, the full benefits of 5G can only be reaped with the establishment of a solid ecosystem in which technology, regulatory, security and industry partners all have a part to play.”

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]

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