Gov’t announces measures to reduce household telecom expenses

2023.11.09 12:16:01 | 2023.11.09 16:37:26

Minister Lee Jong-Ho of Science and ICT is speaking measures to reduce telecom expenses. [Photo by Yonhap]이미지 확대

Minister Lee Jong-Ho of Science and ICT is speaking measures to reduce telecom expenses. [Photo by Yonhap]

The South Korean government announced a set of measures Wednesday that aim to reduce telecommunications expenses for households grappling with high inflation.

Under the measures, the Ministry of Science and ICT and three of the country’s telecom carriers ? SK telecom Co., KT Corp., and LG Uplus Co. ? agreed to develop a 30,000 won ($23) 5G pricing plan in the first quarter of 2024.

They also agreed to diversify the data allocation of 5G pricing plans in the 2 to 3GB range to increase consumer satisfaction.

The companies have started to revise their terms of use and develop computer systems in line with the government’s plan to alleviate communication expenses.

The revision aims to relax the sign-up restrictions for 5G smartphone users and make it possible for users to switch flexibly between the LTE and 5G pricing plans.

The new policy, which will be progressively implemented from November onwards, allows 5G smartphone users to join LTE pricing plans, and LTE users to switch to 5G pricing plans.

The government also unveiled measures to alleviate mobile expenses for young people.

The government and the three companies have agreed to expand the data allocation in the low-cost range of 30,000 to 40,000 won, which is used for small amounts of data (under 30 GB) and is up to twice the amount of data in regularly priced plans.

They also decided to offer a new 5G pricing plan for young people in the first quarter of 2024, featuring enhanced benefits such as roaming discounts as well as coupons for coffee and movies.

According to a survey by the Korea Consumer Agency, the average monthly mobile expense per person, including handset installment fees, content, and additional usage fees, amount to 65,867 won.

By range, 27.2 percent is in the 40,000 to 60,000 won category while 17.1 percent of subscribers spend more than 100,000 won.

The government will also encourage smartphone manufacturers to introduce lower-cost devices that cost between 300,000 won and 800,000 won. The manufacturers will offer two types of budget smartphones this year and three to four next year.

It also plans to promote measures to allow new telecommunications service providers to enter the market, with the Ministry of Science and ICT considering relaxing the frequency allocation fees and conditions for new mobile carriers.

By Kim Dae-gi and Lee Eun-joo

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