The number of 5G subscribers exceeded one million as of June 10, the Ministry of Science and ICT said on June 12. 5G mobile phones sold about 230,000 units during the first month of 5G services, exceeding the initial adoption pace of 4G services.
The surge in 5G subscribers in the initial period is attributed to overheated competition among mobile carriers who provided handset subsidies of up to 1 million won per unit. The timely launch of 5G phones by Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics also contributed to creating a 5G boom. In particular, the three mobile telecom companies went so far as providing illegal subsidies, lowering handset prices below zero for those who sign up for two-year contracts.
"Although there are currently only two 5G smartphone models available in the market, mobile carriers have already attracted 1 million 5G customers. It is very fast," said an industry analyst. “SK Telecom initially set its subscriber target for 2019 at 1 million. Thus, the total number of the three mobile carriers’ 5G subscribers is expected to surpass 3 million this year."
5G smartphones currently in the market are only two models – the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and LG Electronics' V50 ThinQ. The Galaxy S10 5G is the world's first 5G smartphone and is enjoying immense popularity both in Korea and the United States.
LG's V50 ThinQ also contributed to creating a boom in 5G services. Its dual screen (when equipped with accessories) offers differentiated multimedia experiences. In the domestic market, Samsung and LG 5G smartphones are believed to sell at three to one ratio.
The growth of the 5G smartphone market is expected to accelerate once again when 5G versions of the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Galaxy Note 10 are launched before long.