Network operator KT said Monday that the number of its GiGA Internet service subscribers has crossed the 1 million mark as of Dec. 30.
Since the launch of the GiGA Internet in September 2014, which offers both fiber optic and wireless network services, KT attracted around 70,000 new subscribers to the Internet service every month, which translates into 2,300 new subscribers a day.
The launch of the gigabit-class Internet service, 10 times faster than the existing 100-megabit broadband connection, was a watershed in the domestic market as it speeded up innovations in a range of other sectors including those for multimedia, cloud services and over-the-top technologies.
Quoting research by Ajou University professor Lee Hong-jae, KT said the widespread use of the GiGA Internet would create additional value of 1.1 million won ($926) for each household.
The professor also forecast in his report that consumers who use the GiGA Internet can expect cost savings and added values of about 62.9 trillion won by 2020.
KT plans to invest around 4.5 trillion won in the GiGA infrastructure by 2017, which will then spark 9.5 trillion won of production and create 32,000 jobs.
Other research also supported the theory that gigabit Internet serves as a backbone of an economy.
U.S. consulting firm Analysis Group said in its report that a region with more gigabit Internet subscriptions showed a higher annual income growth rate than regions with the lower penetration rate of gigabit Internet services.
Gigabit Internet services are also expected to boost the growth of emerging information and communications technologies including Internet of Things, cloud computing and big data.
“KT will continue to expand its Internet network coverage to offer high-speed Internet services for customers in all areas and see the number of the subscribers exceed 2.2 million by the end of this year,” a KT official said.
In a bid to seek new growth engines amid the neck-and-neck competition in the wireless network industry, the mobile carrier is currently planning to increase its presence in new business areas including Internet-only bank and energy management.
Joining forces with other financial firms and ecommerce companies, including Woori Bank and GS Retail, the company will start operating online bank K-Bank, offering loan services with low- and mid- interest rates as early as the second half of this year.
Urging KT’s top executives and employees to boldly jump into new sectors to achieve innovations, Chairman Hwan Chang-gyu said “KT will spare no efforts to cement its leading status in the market.”