With the release of Apple’s first iPhone in November 2009, smartphones became popular in Korea. The dream of becoming a powerful nation in the mobile sector is becoming reality, as the era of one smartphone per person is just around the corner.
According to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning on January 23, the number of mobile subscribers — users of feature phones, smartphones, and machine to machine (M2M) devices combined — was 54.51 million people as of November 2013, about 4 million more than the figure for the entire population. According to Statistics Korea’s estimates, the population of Korea totaled 50,219,669 as of July 1, 2013.
In particular, smartphone subscribers reached 37.21 million in November of last year, comprising 68% of total mobile subscribers, four years after the introduction of Apple’s iPhone 3GS in the country through KT. The incredible rate of smartphone subscribers is unprecedented.
The industry estimates that smartphone subscribers hit 37.5 million at the end of 2013, up 5 million from a year ago. In fact, the figure in 2013 is a 46.8-fold increase from 2009. If this trend continues, it is certain that the era of 40 million smartphone subscribers will arrive in the first half of this year.
The general opinion is that the era of one smartphone per person has already started, though, if preschool children and very old people are not counted.