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South Korean Mobile Phone Usage Rises to 54% of the 47 Million Population
Posted: 15-Mar-2000 [Source: Bloomberg]

[South Korea's Mobile Phone Subscribers Reach 54% of Population.]

By Judy Lee, Seoul -- "More than half of South Korea's 47 million population are using mobile phones, which has forced local service providers such a SK Telecom Co. to seek international alliances as competition heats up.

"The number of Korean subscribers topped 25.4 million at the end of February, up 4.9 percent from a month ago, marking one of the highest penetration rates in Asia, the Information and Communications Ministry.

"The surge has boosted earnings at SK Telecom, Korea's largest mobile phone service provider, Korea Telecom Freetel Co. and other operators as well as equipment makers, such as LG Information & Communications Co. and Samsung Electronics Co.

"Better earnings also help SK Telecom and others find foreign strategic partners to cope against heightened rivalry. Last month, SK Telecom said it agreed to a technology alliance with China United Telecommunications Corp., one of the mainland's two CDMA- based mobile phone service providers and China's second-largest telecom company.

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