Commercialising 5G with SK Telecom


As one of the first in the world to launch 5G networks for both consumer and enterprise, SK Telecom (SKT) reported 5.48 million 5G subscribers at the end of 2020.

The operator pursued a “5G Cluster” based approach to the development of its network and services. It created high density coverage in specific locations (e.g. stadiums, parks, business districts, factories) and combined it with advanced-technology environments (including AR, VR and AI) to provide distinctive 5G services, highlighting 5G’s benefits over 4G.

From consumer perspective, the operator continues to expand its equipment range and finess its 5G tariff plans to meet consumption patterns, investing further in service elements such as long- and short-form video, AR and VR content and gaming.

Beyond business mobile, SKT’s approach to commercialising 5G in the enterprise segment has been to combine 5G connectivity with other capabilities such as AI, cloud and mobile edge computing to offer enterprise and SMEs cloud communication and SaaS services, machine vision manufacturing, connectivity for IoT monitoring, smart factory solutions (such as device management and data traffic control as well as equipment sensor management), robotic assistance and private 5G customisations.


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SKT is also taking steps to collaborate with other telcos in order to make edge a success globally.

This April 2021 Report: SK Telecom’s journey in commercialising 5G examines the market factors that have enabled and constrained SKT’s 5G actions up to now and identifies lessons in the commercialisation of 5G for operators that are on their own 5G journey.

See our in-depth 5G research and our coverage of SKT’s 5G journey so far:

Andrew Collinson


Andrew Collinson

Executive Director & Chief Research Officer

Andrew leads STL Partners’ research business and has over 25 years’ experience working in telecoms, holding senior business and strategic roles the within mobile, fixed line, VOIP and internet services sectors. Andrew has particular interests in how organisations and people change, AI, and neuroscience. Andrew holds a BSc in Medical Physics from Exeter and an MBA from Warwick.

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