Smartphone users make up 50% of mobile subscriptions
By Cho Mu-hyun
It is no longer news that smartphones are the current trend among mobile phone consumers but new statistics now back this up.
According to data released by the three domestic mobile carriers smartphone users now account for over half of handset subscriptions in Korea.
As one of the world’s most-wired societies, Korea has seen drastic growth in the smartphone market, less than three years after the introduction of Apple’s 3GS iPhone in late 2009.
Samsung Electronics, previously a minor player that couldn’t effectively compete with Apple, is now the top global maker of smartphones and Korea is seeing a new wave of handsets using advanced Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks.
The number of smartphone users as of the end of last week was 26.67 million, 50.85 percent of Korea’s 52.55 million registered mobile phone users, data from the local telecom industry showed.
``This is a milestone since the first iPhone was introduced, here, 30 months ago,’’ said an official from the Korea Communications Commission (KCC), the nation’s top telecom regulator, Monday.
By company, SK Telecom, the nation’s largest mobile carrier, has 13.3 million smartphone subscribers for 50.18 percent of the total market.
KT’s smartphone customers total 8.8 million, taking up 53.33 percent out of it 16.5 million clients, according to the firm.
LG Uplus, the nation’s smallest carrier, had 4.62 million smartphone users, about 48 percent out of its 9.55 million subscribers, it said.
In November 2009, there were 470,000 smartphone users, however, the number surpassed to 10 million in March last year thanks to a steady line of products from handset manufacturers and promotional campaigns by carriers.
Samsung is expanding its smartphone lineup from high-end to budget models in an attempt to keep the lead over its rivals, here. Samsung’s Galaxy SIII, which will use quad-core mobile processors and LTE connectivity will be coming out soon.
LG Electronics said in a statement it sold over 1 million Optimus LTE smartphones in Korea since its debut here in October.
``LG Electronics is recovering. With the release of more smartphone models, we will give value to our customers and potential LG clients,’’ said an LG spokesman.