Communications in South Korea

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Communications services improved dramatically in the 1980s with the assistance of foreign partners and as a result of the development of the electronics industry. The number of telephones in use in 1987 reached 9.2 million, a considerable increase from 1980, when there were 2.8 million subscribers (which, in turn, was four times the number of subscribers in 1972).

Radio, and in more recent years television, reached virtually every resident. The Japanese established a radio station in Seoul in 1927; by 1945 there were about 60,000 radio sets in the country. By 1987 there were approximately 42 million radio receivers in use, and more than 100 radio stations were broadcasting. Transistor radios and television sets have made their way to the most remote rural areas. Television sets, now mass-produced in South Korea, became far less expensive; most city people and a significant number of rural families owned or had access to a television. Ownership of television sets grew from 25,000 sets when broadcasting was initiated in 1961 to an estimated 8.6 million sets in 1987, and more than 250 television stations were broadcasting.



  • Telephones - main lines in use: 26.6 million (2004)
  • Telephones - mobile cellular: 40.0 million (2006)[1]
  • Telephone system:
    • general assessment: excellent domestic and international services
    • domestic: NA
    • international: country code - 82; 10 fiber-optic submarine cables - 1 Korea-Russia-Japan, 1 Korea-Japan-Hong Kong, 3 Korea-Japan-China, 1 Korea-Japan-China-Europe, 1 Korea-Japan-China-US-Taiwan, 1 Korea-Japan-China, 1 Korea-Japan-Hong Kong-Taiwan, 1 Korea-Japan; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Pacific Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean) and 3 Inmarsat (1 Pacific Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean)

Mobile phone

There are three mobile phone service providers: SK Telecom, Korea Telecom and LG Telecom.



  • Television broadcast stations: terrestrial stations 43; cable operators 59; relay cable operators 190 (2005)


(Total population: 48.8 million (July 2006 est.)

IT and Broadband Development

Today, South Korea has the highest number of broadband users. The rapid growth of the Korean broadband market was the result of a combination of government pushes and market factors. The government was active in promoting privatization and deregulation in general, and the information technology (IT) sector was no exception.

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