RealTime IT News

Korean High-Speed Internet Market Heats Up

As local demand for high-speed Internet access rises, Korea Telecom and two other leading telecommunications service providers are competing fiercely with each other to preoccupy the rapidly-growing market.

Industry sources said that the number of subscribers for high-speed Internet access service in Korea has more than doubled to 135,000 during the first four months of this year since 1998's end due largely to explosive growth of e-commerce market, coupled with the current boom of online games.

In this connection, competition among the nation three major high-speed Internet access providers, which also include Hanaro Telecom Inc. and Thrunet Co., are heating up to clinch more subscribers.

Hanaro Telecom, the nation's second local phone network, sparked the competition by launching a high-speed Internet access service at the beginning of April. The company stresses that users can access the Internet at 100 times faster than the ordinary dial-up modem.

"We will diversify our service by focusing on customers who want to use the high-speed Internet at a lower cost," said Shin Yun-Sik, president of Hanaro Telecom.

The company now offers three different types of high-speed Internet access with Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL), ISDN and cable TV network, thus offering more choice to customers. Hanaro Telecom has secured nearly 35,000 subscribers in just 10 days since its inauguration of the high-speed Internet access service.

Stimulated by such marketing efforts of Hanaro Telecom, Korea Telecom hurriedly strengthened its service by expanding the capacity of its international Internet communications backbones by as much as 50%, while newly introducing ADSL service.

Korea Telecom has secured 11,500 new clients during the month of April, bringing the total number of its ISDN subscribers to 75,000 as the end of April.

The state-run telecommunications giant plans to offer Super Kornet service, an ADSL service, which provides users with unlimited access to the Internet, at a flat monthly rate of 50,000 won (about US$41.50).

Also, the company is expected to offer high-speed Internet access service through the telecommunications satellite, enabling its users to transmit data at a speed of 1 Mbps.