Mobile carriers race to grab bigger slice of LTE market

South Korea’s top mobile carrier SK Telecom Co. and other industry players are ramping up efforts to claim a bigger share of the fast growing long-term evolution (LTE) market deemed a future money spinner, market watchers say. The LTE service, or the fourth-generation (4G) of wireless technology, enables smartphone users to access a stream of data faster than the current 3G network and download and watch movies more quickly.

In a country where four out of 10 people use smartphones, SK Telecom and two other carriers — KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp. — are rushing to satisfy data-hungry users, betting that the new service will help them continue to turn a profit in the already saturated wireless market. “Offering the LTE service can be likened to expanding a congested road to make traffic flow more smoothly,” said Kim Jang-won, a senior analyst at IBK Securities Co. 

The LTE service kicked off in July last year in South Korea, led by SK Telecom, which controls about half of the local mobile market, and LG Uplus, the country’s smallest mobile operator.

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