“Korean players are even more dominant in the local LTE smartphone market,” he said.
Seoul-based Gartner analyst C.G. Lee told The Register Web site that this local dominance in the LTE space is because there is no standard frequency band between countries.
“Without economies of scale, foreign vendors also find it difficult to survive in a communications market where huge marketing dollars are needed,” Lee said.
Despite their low market share, foreign brands have viewed South Korea as a market they must tap. That is because of the high percentage of South Koreans using smartphones.
The number of smartphone users in South Korea as of August surpassed 30 million, which equates to roughly six out of every 10 people, according to a study in late August by SK Telecom and other telecommunications companies.
The results also suggested that the number of smartphone users is increasing by an average of between 10,000 and 15,000 people each day.
A study conducted in late June by the Korea Communications Commissions (KCC) found that among the 53 million people using mobile phones in South Korea as of June, about 28.8 million, or 58.5 percent, were using smartphones.