Lobbyists coined the term “the race to 5G”. If there ever was such a race, South Korea won it as unlike other markets there are – read on – many reported numbers to support a leadership claim. With 4.7 million 5G subscriptions by the end of 2019, 7% of Korea’s mobile subscribers used 5G just nine months after launch.
The subscriber take-up has been fast, but not linear. In August, September and October, when Samsung launched three new 5G smartphones (Note 10, A90 and Fold) and LG updated its V50 smartphone, 5G sales was exceptionally fast. During November and December no new smartphones were introduced and South Korea missed the expectation of 5 million 5G subscribers by year end 2019.
Tefficient’s 24th public analysis on the development and drivers of mobile data ranks 115 operators based on average data usage per SIM, total data traffic and revenue per gigabyte in 1H 2019.
The data usage per SIM grew for all; everybody climbed our Christmas tree. More than half of the operators could turn that data usage growth into ARPU growth– for the first time a majority is in green. Read our analysis to see who delivered on “more for more” – and who didn’t.
Speaking of which, we take a closer look at the development of one of the unlimited powerhouses –Taiwan. Are people getting tired of mobile data?
We also provide insight into South Korea– the world’s leading 5G market. Just how much effect did 5G have on the data usage?
Nowhere else in the world will you find as many 5G users as in South Korea. Nowhere else will you find as many 5G base stations up and running. If there ever was a race to 5G, the Korean government and industry won it.
Seeing is believing: After having dug up, read and compiled all reporting and data on Korea’s mobile business there was no other way forward than to seeing it for ourselves and interview people involved in creating Korea’s ‘5G wonder’.
We spent eight busy days (11-18 July) in Seoul to finish a comprehensive 106-page analysis – full of graphs and photos – with recommendations for European operators.
Final! Mobile data usage and revenue for 39 countries
This is tefficient’s 21st public analysis of the development and drivers of mobile data.
Mobile data usage is still growing in all of the 39 countries covered by this analysis. But there are two countries that stand out – China and India. In the first half of 2018, these two ‘developing’ nations have overtaken several mature markets when it comes to average data consumption per subscription. The growth is incredibly fast and driven by 4G.
Two years ago, telcos were still proudly reporting their progress in utilisation of their own public Wi-Fi hotspots for cost efficient offloading of mobile data. Public Wi-Fi was also positioned as an investment in a better customer experience – especially in public indoor environments. Telcos that were late with 4G – such as in Taiwan and Belgium – could utilise their public Wi-Fi to bridge the transition from 3G to 4G.
American carriers and uncarriers are embracing fixed wireless as one of the first use cases that 5G will solve. Verizon finally lifted the curtain on its fixed wireless offering yesterday: Verizon 5G Home. October 1 it will be available for 50 USD per month to existing Verizon customers in certain areas in Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento.
T-Mobile’s 5G will – to use their own words – have more ‘breadth and depth‘ than Verizon’s. With 5G, T-Mobile will position itself within fixed wireless for the first time:
“51% of Americans have only one high-speed broadband option – no choice at all! The combined company will create a viable alternative for millions by enabling mobile connections that rival broadband, driving prices lower and improving service.”
The only caveat when it comes to T-Mobile’s ambition is that it is conditional. This will happen if T-Mobile and Sprint are allowed to merge – a decision not yet made.