Exceeds 5 million LTE subscribers in just 46 days after breaking the 4 million mark; signs up a daily average of 33,000 LTE users
SK Telecom (NYSE: SKM) said on Sept. 6 that its LTE subscribers surpassed 5 million, in just one year since releasing Korea’s first-ever LTE smartphone in September 2011. The company becomes the third among around 90 LTE service providers across the globe to achieve the milestone of 5 million LTE subscribers.
SK Telecom exceeded 5 million LTE subscribers in just 46 days after breaking the 4 million mark in July 30, 2012. The company signed up a daily average of 33,000 LTE users in August, maintaining strong subscriber growth.
In April, the company made an upward adjustment to its year-end LTE subscriber target from the initial 5 million to 7 million as its swift deployment of nationwide LTE network and a rich lineup of premium LTE devices boosted the adoption and usage of LTE service.
“SK Telecom achieved over 71 percent of its year-end LTE subscriber target by securing 5 million LTE subscribers and is confident that it will attain the year-end target of 7 million LTE subscribers,” said Jang Dong-hyun, Executive Vice President and Head of Marketing Division of SK Telecom. “Going forward, SK Telecom will focus on offering unrivalled LTE service and differentiated customer benefits rather than concentrating its efforts in bringing new subscribers.”
Meanwhile, with the introduction of diverse LTE price plans like LTE Ting and LTE Golden Age, the number of SK Telecom’s LTE subscribers in their teens and fifties or older increased by 500,000 and 650,000 respectively during the same period, diversifying the LTE customer base.
Since the launch of LTE service, SK Telecom’s LTE customers have used a total of 33.5 petabytes (or 1024 terabytes) of data. Of the total, 46 percent was used for multimedia contents, which is 10 percentage points higher than that of 3G customers (36 percent). In August, LTE customers’ daily average data usage for YouTube was 3.2 times greater than that of 3G users.
The changes in the trend can be clearly seen by comparing the mobile Internet usage patterns of Galaxy S3 3G and Galaxy S3 LTE users. Galaxy 3S LTE subscribers - whose data usage was mainly on video and music streaming service - used 60 percent more data per month (on average) than Galaxy S3 3G customers.
Moreover, SK Telecom’s LTE-specialized services designed to deliver a differentiated customer experience are growing at a rapid pace. T Freemium attracted 1.6 million subscribers in just five months since its debut in April 2 and exceeded 10.5 million cumulative downloads; and T Baseball has around 80,000 daily unique visitors and over 200,000 subscribers. In addition, a daily average of 100,000 people are enjoying network games over LTE.
SK Telecom plans to showcase a wide variety of new services that take advantage of its high speed LTE network including personalized mobile shopping service, real-time sports game broadcast service and disaster alert system. Furthermore, the company will lead efforts to reduce customers’ burden of purchasing LTE devices by selling used LTE phones through T Eco-phone, a buyback program for used cell phones.
With its differentiated LTE services, the number of SK Telecom’s LTE subscribers is expected to reach 14 million by the end of 2013 and 18 million by the end of 2014.