SEOUL, May 7 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s telecom operators have vowed to expand investment, presenting a rosy blueprint for the 5G era.
Nonetheless, the number of base stations in the country has started to decline for the first time since 2012, data showed Thursday.
According to the Korea Communications Agency, the number of wireless base stations in South Korea totaled 1,461,687 in the first quarter of this year, down 18,740 from 1,480,427 a quarter ago.
Prior to this, the number of wireless base stations fell to 1,442,441 in the third quarter of last year from 1,511,008 in the second quarter of last year.
After rebounding in the fourth quarter of last year, the number of wireless base stations declined again in the first quarter of this year.
The number of wireless base stations had been on an upward trend, excluding the first quarter of 2012, since they were first introduced in the third quarter of 1988.
However, after peaking at 1,511,008 in the second quarter of last year, the number of wireless base stations has hovered at around 1.44 to 1.48 million units thereafter.
Above all, it has been pointed out that mobile carriers put a priority on profits while neglecting their duties as telecommunication service providers.
By type of network, 5G base stations accounted for 148,677 in the first quarter’s total, up 4.7 percent or 6,738 from 141,939 a quarter ago. The share of 5G base stations among overall base stations reached a double-digit figure (10.2 percent) for the first time.
In contrast, the number of LTE base stations declined from 971,258 to 967,000 during the same period, while the number of 3G and 2G base stations fell from 309,311 and 57,919 to 304,801 and 41,209, respectively.
Analysts suggest that mobile carriers are reducing less profitable service equipment to cover the costs of expanding the number of 5G base stations, which have higher average revenue per user (ARPU).
J. S. Shin (email@example.com)