Symbol image: cell tower

Mobile communications and Internet in South Korea

Compared to the United States, South Korea is at the forefront of the development of telecommunications. Under the country code +82, there were a total of 96.07 million connections in 2021. Among them were 72.86 million mobile phones, which corresponds to an average of 1.4 per person. In the US, this figure is 1.1 mobile phones per person.

With about 315,697 webhosts, South Korea is below the world's average by population. At the end of 2020, 307,856 of these, or about 98 percent, were secured with SSL or comparable encryption.

Back to overview: South Korea

Internet speed for cell phones and fixed network

With an average download speed of 114.69 Mbit/second for fixed-network broadband internet, South Korea ranks 27th in an international comparison. The upload rate was only 93.85 Mbit/second (18th place).
In mobile internet, i.e., on tablets and smartphones, South Korea comes 8th with a download speed of 110.59 Mbit/second. The upload speed of around 14 Mbit was only enough for 30th place.

The Speedtest Global Index published regularly by Ookla is based on several million individual measurements in April 2023 from 180 countries.

Mobile phone rates in South Korea

Every year, the International Telecommunication Union calculates for many countries what a mobile phone contract costs to use. A monthly budget averaging US$ 23.50 was calculated South Korea in 2021. This is about the same value as in the previous year.

The ITU refers to the costs for monthly use and includes 140 telephony minutes, 70 text messages and a data transfer of 2 GBytes. The transfer speed should be the minimum of a 3G connection, i.e. at least UMTS, which is already outdated in many parts of the world. 2 GBytes do not sound much. However, this is already quite a high consumption in a worldwide comparison. If one does not take a fixed amount in US dollars, but converts it to the economic output per inhabitant, a user in South Korea spends 0.85% of his gross national income on mobile telephony. Worldwide, this rate is around 6.6 percent.

In the USA, the monthly cost was around $38.10.

Network coverage with 5G

In 2021, network coverage with the 5G standard was already 98 percent of all inhabitants. The proportion of the population with at least 4G mobile Internet access was 99.9 percent. The 4G network standard includes both LTE and WiMAX.

The following diagrams show the development of the various telephone and internet connections as a percentage of the country's population. Values above 100 percent mean that, on average, every inhabitant has more than one connection.

Access to the internet in South Korea from 1990 - 2021

Broadband internet in South Korea 1998 - 2021

Symbol image: cell towerSouth Korea is doing very well in the expansion of broadband internet connections. Around 98 percent of all residents have access to the internet. Around 44 percent have their own fast internet connection, which is at least faster than the former ISDN (more than 256 kbit/s). All fixed connections via DSL, cable or satellite were counted here, but not those connected to the internet via mobile communications.

Landlines 1990 - 2021

Mobile phones 1990 - 2021

Largest telecommunications providers in South Korea

(data referring to the year 2022)
SK Telecom, Seoul5,33910.82 bn USD14.63 bn USD2.09 bn USD
KT , Seongnam21,7596.89 bn USD21.74 bn USD1.18 bn USD
LG Uplus, Seoul10,1875.10 bn USD12.10 bn USD622.00 m USD

All international calling codes

Distribution in 2021South Korea
South Korea
Internet users50.49 m97.57 %304.52 m91.75 %
Broadband users22.94 m44.34 %125.89 m37.93 %
Landlines23.21 m44.86 %97.82 m29.47 %
Mobile cellulars72.86 m140.80 %361.66 m108.97 %

Comparison: South Korea / United StatesCountry comparison: South Korea / United States of AmericaThe United States of America and South Korea compared: demography, Economy, energy, languages and further dimensions.
United States of America: TelecommunicationTelecommunication in the United States of AmericaComparison of technological development and communication in the United States of America with the countries of the European Union
Japan: Public HolidaysPublic holidays in Japan 2023-2027Statutory and inofficial holidays in Japan for 2023 to 2027