Parks Associates Blog

Monday, July 02, 2007

WiBro Picking up Pace in South Korea

This is interesting news coming from South Korea, according to a CLSA newsletter I subscribe to. The information is interesting enough in itself and I'll post it as is.

It turned out that many of the WiBro users are male workers in their 30s. According to a recent KT survey of its WiBro service subscribers, individual users took up 74.2% while company users were 25.8%; male users(79.9%) were 4 times larger than female users (20.1%); in the age segmentation, users in their 30s accounted for 37.1%, 28.5% for 40 something users and 19.3% for 20 something users.

Meanwhile, KT WiBro subscribers have surpassed 20,000, an increase of over 10,000 in June alone, with growing popularity of WiBro USB modem released early June among laptop users. Recently, the membership is increasing by 500 a day.

KT said that considering WiBro service is only available in Seoul and Metropolitan area, such membership increase shows huge growth potential of WiBro service. It also predicted that the increase in subscribers will be further accelerated during the second half with the release of convergence product of Hi-speed Internet and WiBro, and the increasing number of devices like Ultra-Mobile PC and WiBro phone.

We are not sure what's KT's sampling methodoloy but the demographics of users skew a little younger than mobile broadband users in the U.S. It makes sense since the majority of WiBro users are individual subscribers instead of corporate subscribers and they are likely to be technology early adopters. If KT can sustain its current growth, then the company will pass 100,000 WiBro subscribers before the end of 2007. SKT, the other WiBro service provider, will likely to pay more attention to WiBro as well. In terms of devices, USB dongles, PC card, and smart phones are likely to be the most popular. On my panel at WiMAX Strategies a couple of weeks ago, a Samsung executive mentioned that the Ultra Mobile PC in its current incarnation was not a success...


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