South Korean mobile carriers are seeking to boost their growing user base on the latest 5G network with the launch of Samsung's new flagship Galaxy S21 smartphones.
The Galaxy S21 series started taking preorders Friday from Samsung and the country's three major carriers -- SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus-- with an official release slated for January 29.
Samsung's new flagship, which supports 5G, comes in three variants -- the 6.2-inch S21, the 6.7-inch S21+ and the 6.8-inch S21 Ultra -- and competes with Apple Inc.'s iPhone 12 models, the US company's first smartphones to support 5G.
Local carriers are banking on the rivalry to spur the country's migration to the latest generation network that has recently picked up after the launch of Apple's latest smartphones in October last year, reports Yonhap news agency.
South Korea's 5G users nearly reached 11 million in November, compared to around 9 million in September, according to government data.
The majority of local mobile users are still on the 4G network -- 53 million as of November -- accounting for 75 per cent of the country's total 70 million mobile subscriptions.
To attract more 5G users, top mobile carrier SK Telecom released cheaper 5G data plans ahead of the launch of the Galaxy S21, following in the footsteps of rivals.
Samsung's new flagship models are expected to increase the country's 5G users, with Daishin Securities analyst Park Kang-ho estimating up to 32 million in global sales for the Galaxy S21 series this year, up 23 per cent from last year's sales of Galaxy S20 models.
The South Korean tech giant is aggressively pushing the new flagships, with the smallest S21 model going on sale with a price tag of 999,900 won ($910) here, making it the cheapest flagship 5G smartphone from Samsung.