LG Uplus ends 2023 with over 7 million 5G subscribers

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LG Uplus 5G subscribers IoT connections South Korean government Spectrum licenses


LG Uplus, a key player in telecommunications, reports significant growth in 5G subscribers and IoT connections. With 980,000 new 5G subscribers added in 2023, the company now boasts 7.04 million 5G subscribers, comprising 64.3% of its mobile base. However, challenges emerge as the South Korean government cancels 28 GHz spectrum licenses due to operators’ failure to deploy necessary infrastructure.

This decision impacts LG Uplus, Stat Telecom, and KT Corp., highlighting regulatory complexities in spectrum management. While operators fulfilled requirements for the 3.5 GHz spectrum, none succeeded in deploying 28 GHz frequencies, signaling a setback in 5G rollout.

Despite this, LG Uplus reports annual revenue growth and continued cellular division sales. The cancellation underscores the importance of meeting regulatory obligations in advancing telecommunications infrastructure and ensuring seamless 5G deployment

According to LG Uplus, 980,000 5G subscribers were added in 2023.

According to the company’s most recent earnings statement, Korean operator LG Uplus had 7.04 million 5G subscribers at the end of the fourth quarter of 2023, an increase of 16.2 % year over year. In 2023, the telco added 980,000 5G subscribers, while the overall net additions in the third quarter were 221,000.

The Korean company also noted that, compared to 54.1% at the end of 2022, 64.3% of the telco’s overall mobile base was made up of 5G subscribers.

The number of mobile customers for Teco increased 17.2% year over year to 18.8 million. IoT connections increased 80 % year over year to 10.3 million, while MVNO users increased by 63% to 6.43 million.

Net profit for the fourth quarter of 2023 was 105.2 billion won ($ 79.2 million ), down 34 % from Q4 2022’s net profit of 159.4 billion. The carrier’s net profits for the entire 2023 fiscal year totaled 630.2 billion won, down 4.9% year over year.

Annual revenues totaled 14.37 trillion won, up 3.4% year over year, while LG Uplus Q4 revenues amounted to 3.82 trillion wins, an increase of 5.8% from the same period in 2022.

However, in the fourth quarter, the telco’s operating profit decreased by 31.8% year over year to 195.5 billion. Operating profit reached 998 billion won for the entire 2023 fiscal year, down 7.7% year over year.

Additionally, LG Uplus reported that in the fourth quarter, sales from its cellular division increased by 0.6% year over year to reach 1.58 trillion won.

According to a lack of funding and missed rollout requirements, the South Korean government properly canceled the 28 GHz spectrum licenses that had previously been given to local operators for 5G deployments last year.

Local operators LG Uplus, Stat Telecom, and KT Corp. lost their license to use the 28 GHz frequencies they had won in an 2018 spectrum auction as a result of the ruling.

The decision was made, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT, as a result of local carriers failure to install the 28 GHz radio stations necessary for the licensing.

In 2018, the three operators were able to secure frequency

ies in the 3. 5 GHz and 28 MHz bands under the stipulation that they would each set up 22,500, and 15,000 radio stations for each band.

The government reported that while telcos had installed the required number of radio stations for the 3. 5GHz spectrum, none of them had succeeded in deploying the 28GHz frequencies.

Leo Portal

Leo is an expert in the field of smart city research and an overall tech-enthusiast with an emphasis on smart energy, IOT, smart homes and governance. After a master degree in international administration at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and a master in public management at Fudan University in China, he pursued research studies in the field of smart cities at the European University Institute. This led him to publish multiple articles on smart cities. Among them “Using Smart People to Build Smarter: How Smart Cities Attract and Retain Highly Skilled Workers to Drive Innovation (Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland)” published in the Smart Cities and Regional Development Journal (SCRD) and “Establishing Participative Smart Cities: Theory and Practice”, also published in the SCRD Journal. He regularly audits and advises municipalities and regional governments on their smart city strategies. He is currently writing a chapter for Springer on smart mobility in French smart cities.

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