Korea 5G far ahead: 250,000 5G in Korea, goal 8-10M in one year, 3,690 bases added one week (First look)
May 1, 2019. Korea has pulled far ahead in 5G, by almost every measure. Half the country is covered with 5G, with 90% expected by the end of 2019. Korea Telecom has 100,000 subscribers and the country 260,000. The hope is for 10% of users will be on 5G by the end of 2019, four to five million. SKT projects 6-7M subscribers by the end of 2020. That would suggest the three carriers will have 8-10M subscribers in a year. It will be difficult to impossible for any other country to catch up until 2021 or later.
Takeaways: The government "suggested" the companies move quickly, effective industrial planning. KT CFO Kyung-Keun Yoon on its financial call said, "The investment into 5G is actually inevitable for us." I believe this pattern will be common: one company moves fast on 5G and the others feel they must match. Ericsson data is:
More than half in China, one-third in South Korea and one in four in the US and Australia will change either immediately or within six months should this be the case.
Ericsson wants to sell radios and is not an objective source, but all indications are that if 5G is offered at the same price as 4G, consumers will buy. I expect this will especially be true later this year when numerous 5G phones hit the market at about US$600.