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In South Korea, early 5G deployment is weighing on profits

In the countries where operators have been fastest to deploy 5G at some scale, there have been the highest fears about the impact of their accelerated progress on their profits. Early adopters do not get the full price advantages of a fully scaled-up ecosystem and often have to do a great deal of customization – Verizon being an extreme example with its initial implementation of its own pre-standard version of 5G New Radio. Combined with a spike in capex which many slower-moving operators say they aim to avoid with more staggered roll-outs, these early movers also see limited prospect of a ‘5G premium’ in ARPU. In the first phase, all the services are targeted mainly to conventional user bases and…

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