Almost half of all smartphone users in Korea use fourth-generation LTE handsets, according to the Korea Communications Commission on Tuesday.
A survey on the use of smartphones in the second half of 2012 shows that 44.6 percent of smartphones users had LTE handsets, compared to just 28.7 percent in the first half.
The survey was conducted jointly by the KCC and the Korea Internet Security Agency in November on 4,000 people between 12 and 59 years of age.
Also, 35.9 percent said they intended to either change to an LTE phone or replace their existing LTE handset with a new one, while 41.3 percent were willing to switch to a different service provider in order to get an LTE smartphone.
"LTE smartphones are expected to overtake 3G smartphones this year," said a KCC spokesman.
Meanwhile, the new subscription rate for smartphones was 6.9 percent, confirming a steady decline since the peak in July 2010. Some 32 million people already had smartphones, while 21 million refused to make the switch due to the high price and complicated functions.
The average usage period of a smartphone was 19.5 months, and 68.7 percent of users had owned their handsets for less than two years.
People also spent more time using their phone. The average daily usage time was 102 minutes, compared to 87 minutes a year earlier, according to the KCC.