South Korea carriers announce 5G pricing, data plans

SK Telecom has unveiled pricing plans for 5G commercial services, which the Korean carrier officially is launching April 5. Competitors KT and LG Uplus are expected to launch their own services the same day, which also is when the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G will become available to South Korean consumers.


SK Telecom is offering four “5GX” plans, according to a press release. The operator’s 5G network uses 4G-5G dual connectivity technology to deliver network speeds of up to 2.7 Gbps. The Slim package offers 8GB of data at $49 per month, and 1 Mbps speeds after the data cap; and the 5GX Standard package offers 150GB of data for $66 per month, and 5 Mbps after the data cap.


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SK Telecom is offering a promotion running through December 2019 for its two other plans: it is offering the 5GX Prime package and the 5GX Platinum package with unlimited data and no speeds restrictions for $78 and $110 per month until the end of the year. The carrier said the 5GX Prime package will offer 200GB of data for $84 per month after the promotion ends, while the 5GX Platinum plan will offer 300GB of data for $125 per month. The operator didn’t list any speed restrictions for those two plans once the promotion is over.


SK Telecom’s large data packages make its 5GX line of services ideal for streaming UHD and virtual reality content, the company said. It has deployed its 5G network in data traffic-heavy areas across 85 cities in the country, including major metro areas, university districts, sports stadiums, expressways and subway lines, and at beaches. All told, it has deployed 34,000 5G base stations around the country. It plans to expand 5G coverage to subways, national parks and festival sites during the second half of 2019.


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The carrier said it has also focused its 5G networks to expand indoor coverage in 120 department stores, shopping malls and airports throughout the country, using its proprietary “total in-building solution,” which it claims can provide in-building data rates that are four times faster than its competitors, using smartphone antennas.


LG Uplus is offering three 5G packages with much smaller data plans. It is offering 9GB for $49 per month, 150GB for $66 per month, and 250GB for $84 per month, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News. LG also is offering promotional deals to subscribers, including VR headsets, smartphone insurance vouchers for the S10 5G, and a subscription to YouTube’s premium service.


KT, on the other hand, is offering a basic package with 5GB of data for $70.50, which is less expensive than the current 4G plan for 5GB; its special plan includes 50GB for $88 per month, and the premium package offers 100GB for $116 per month.** KT also is offering a 360-degree media service, e-sports and music content to subscribers, as well as gifts such as fried chicken, home appliance products and mobile gift coupons, according to Yonhap News.


**Update 5/7/2019 This story has been corrected to reflect the fact that KT is actually providing unlimited 5G network coverage to customers with no speed caps.