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Mobile Content Grows in South Korea Market

The main engines of growth in South Korea's telecom market from 2010 to 2014 will be services built around broadband technologies -- such as VoIP, IPTV, and mobile data, according to the latest market study by Pyramid Research.

South Korea is arguably the most advanced communications market in the world -- with its 75 percent household fixed broadband penetration rate and 86 percent mobile user penetration rate at year-end 2008.

"Despite the expected decline in service revenue in 2009, Pyramid Research expects the market to rebound and to grow at a CAGR of 4.9 percent during the next five years, generating $29.5 billion by 2014," notes Tae Hyung Kim, analyst at Pyramid Research.

VoIP subscribers increased eight-fold from just 0.3 million subscribers in 2006 to 2.5 million in 2008 due to the enactment of VoIP number portability and Pyramid expects the trend to continue throughout the forecast period.

"With 18.8 million pay-TV subscriptions in a country of 17.6 million households, South Koreans are familiar with the idea of paying money for premium content," says Kim.

"Although cable TV operators dominate the scene with 77 percent share of the pay-TV market, IPTV is a real threat, which all three fixed operators launched in the first quarter of 2009," he explains.

With the regulatory obstacles cleared, attractively priced and bundled with other services will enable IPTV to account for 27 percent of pay-TV subscriptions by year-end 2014.

South Korean consumers are a prime target for mobile content -- given their familiarity and comfort with online content. "Re-education combined with transparent and affordable pricing levels should be all that is needed to reignite the mobile content market in South Korea," Kim says.

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