SEOUL, July 23 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s three major telecom operators said Thursday that they completed establishment of 5G networks on nine subway lines across the country as they look to accelerate the rollout of the latest generation network amid the government’s digital New Deal drive.
SK Telecom Co., KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp. said in a joint statement that they established 5G networks in the capital region’s subway Line No. 9 and eight other subway lines in four major cities — the southern port city of Busan, the southern city of Daegu, the central city of Daejeon and the southwestern city of Gwangju.
The network will also be partially available on Seoul Metro’s Line No. 2, which services the capital’s busiest Gangnam Station, from August.
The telecom operators plan to establish the network’s availability in additional subway lines by mid-next year, according to the statement.
Last week, South Korea announced a set of stimulus measures, including the digital New Deal, under which the government will spend 58.2 trillion won (US$48.6 billion) by 2025 to update public infrastructure with digital services and increase state investment in key technologies, such as 5G.
The companies have promised to commit up to 25.7 trillion won to establish a nationwide 5G network by 2022 as part of the government initiative.
Although South Korea was the first country to commercialize 5G in April last year, its wider deployment has lagged due to limited availability.
“Due to the efforts from telecom operators and Seoul Metro, we were able to make progress,” said Second Vice Minister of Science and ICT Jang Seok-young during his visit to a station on Seoul Metro’s Line No. 2.
“We plan to expand 5G coverage in not only subways but areas most visited by the public.”
As of the end of May, there were 6.9 million 5G users, accounting for roughly 10 percent of the total 69 million mobile subscription accounts in the country, according to ICT ministry data.