South Korea’s vibrant and progressive telecoms market continues to grow

South Korea has the highest number of broadband subscribers per capita of any nation, reveals a report from the Buddecomm consultancy.

The country’s visionary government, a well managed process of deregulation and the early privatisation of its incumbent have all contributed to making its telecoms market one the most vibrant in the world, according to Buddecomm.

South Korea’s government has recently raised the bar on its own Broadband Convergence Network (BcN) initiative by initiating the Ultra Broadband Convergence project. The goal is to increase the number of broadband subscribers with access speeds of over 1Gbps, and upgrade the country’s entire backbone network by 2012.

South Korea has the fourth largest economy in Asia, and the seventh largest broadband subscriber base worldwide. Some 16 million South Koreans are broadband subscribers, compared to 30 million in Japan and 105 million in China.

Buddecomm notes an energetic private sector, and a population that is “technology savvy” as further reasons for growth. Its three main mobile operators, SK Telecom, KT and LG UPlus have 50%, 30% and 20% of mobile market share respectively, with KT taking the lead in 3G technology adoption and wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA).

The report also outlines the problems in the telecoms market of troubled neighbour North Korea. “The development of the telecoms sector in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is seriously impeded,” said the report. “North Korea’s obsession with secrecy has made it extremely difficult to get a clear picture of the sector. Despite this, North Korea has proceeded with mobile communications through a single operator owned by Orascom of Egypt and state-owned Korea Post and Telecoms. Subscriber levels remain extremely low.”