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As of 2004, there were 2,814 post offices operating
throughout the country, with each myeon (a group of several
villages) being served by one or more post offices. In
2004, the mail volume totaled 4,975 million items. Most
letters were delivered within three working days, except
in some remote areas.
The speed and efficiency of the mail delivery process
has greatly improved since the introduction of the first
computerized mail centers in 1990. As of 2002, twenty
two mail centers were equipped with the latest automated
letter and parcel sorting machines. Plans are under way
to build another 3 mail centers nationwide by 2006.
A total of 2,814 post offices provide not only postal
services but also various financial services such as deposit,
remittance and life insurance services. To meet the increasing
needs of customers, Korea Post has been introducing various
new services including Flower Delivery Service, e-Post,
Mail Order Services, Computer Mail Services, etc.
To meet the fast changing business environment, Korea
Post was reorganized as an independent governmental agency
under the auspices of the Ministry of Information and
Communication in July 2000. The new organization, the
Office of Postal Service has attained a greater degree
of autonomy and is now responsible for its own structure,
budget, and operations.
The number of cellular phones
and PCS users has been increasing.
Telephone and Mobile Communication Services
30-kilometer telegraph line from Seoul to the west coast
city of Incheon, completed in September 1885, marked the
first modern communications service in Korea. This service
gradually replaced signal fires, which had been the major
means of communication over extended distances.
An adequate infrastructure for modern communications,
however, was not envisioned until 1962 under the Five-Year
Telecommunications Plan. Up until the 1980s, though, the
importance of communications to a modern society was not
fully appreciated. As of the end of 1979, there were only
some 240,000 telephone subscribers, about 6.3 telephones
per 100 people.
In 1982, the government set up Korea Telecom to take over
the telephone and telegraph business from the Ministry
of Communications. A result of active R&D investment,
in 1986, enabled Korea to become the 10th nation in the
world to develop an electronic switching system, known
as TDX-1. With this technology, Korea has provided an
additional one million circuits annually.
The number of telephone lines in Korea exceeded 10 million
in 1987, with virtually every household having a telephone.
International Subscriber Dialing (ISD) services also have
been available since then. As of the end of 2003, the
number of telephone lines reached 25.800 million with
subscribers totaling 22.87 million. The number of telephones
per 100 persons has increased to 47.7, and all telephone
circuits are now connected by automatic switching systems.
After Mobile communications service began in Korea in
1984 and the number of cellular phone users gradually
increased in the 1980s. Since 1990 the speed of increasement
on the users has become much faster and the total subscribers
stood at 33.59 million as of the end of 2003. Along with
the increasement of subscriber numbers, the mobile communication
service that had simply offered voice or message transmission
services evolved to provide data, wireless internet and
video streaming services in earnest.
Korea launched CDMA2000-1x commercial services that enabled
multimedia service for the first time in the world in
Oct 2000, and started CDMA2000-1x EV DO service that makes
available full-fledged 3G mobile communication services
including video streaming in Jan 2002.
As of the end of Jan. 2005, mobile subscribers for CDMA2000-1x
amounted to 33 million, accounting for 51.1% of the total
cellular phone users, and the number of its subscribers
is expected to steadily grow.
As for 2GHz IMT-2000 service, three local operators were
granted with a license, and they greatly contributed to
earning the nation greater recognition as IT Korea by
showcasing and providing trial services during the opening
ceremony and football matches of the 2002 Korea/Japan
FIFA World Cup. 2GHz IMT-2000 service based on W-CDMA
technology was deployed in the second half of 2003.
With the rapid development of the IT industry and the
explosive proliferation of computers, more and more Koreans
are using computer-related communications on-line services
and the Internet.
The number of on-line service subscribers increased from
718,000 in 1995 to 15.6 million in 2003, while the number
of Internet users soared from 366,000 to 28.6 million
during the same period.
In recognition of the ever-increasing need for building
a networked society to prepare for the coming information
age, the government launched its plan to build an information
super-highway in 1995.
Website of the Korean Overseas
Information Service (http://www.korea.net)
The first stage of the plan was completed in 1997, and
the second stage was completed at the end of 2000. A high-speed
and high-quality optical transmission network of 155 Mbps-40
Gbps has been established in 144 cities. A commercial
ATM network was constructed by installing 361 ATM switches
and connecting the access equipment of 198 subscribers
to major cities across the nation.
With the successful implementation of the plan, Korea
now possesses a high-speed network infrastructure that
offers high-quality data services nationwide, positioning
the nation as one of the world’s 10 most advanced countries
in terms of information networks.
Broadband internet service was first introduced in Korea
in July 1998 when Korea Thrunet rolled out the service
using cable modem. Afterwards, broadband internet has
shown drastic growth backed by new broadband services
such as ADSL, VDSL and the government's promotion policy
as it can be seen broadband subscribers exceeding 10 million.
Based on such an astounding achievement, the ITU and OECD
recognized Korea as number one country worldwide in terms
of broadband penetration and utilization.
Down the road, broadband Internet appears to see continuous
growth in the number of users thanks to a wide arrange
of services to be offered through the expansion of broadband
networks. And ultimately this will lead to enhance quality
of life of people.