Three slaps on the wrist for the nation’s
largest mobile operators. The government has suspended three carriers
from doing business for 45 days for providing illegal subsidies to lure in customers.
Our Laah Hyun-kyung has more. It’s the biggest business suspension on the country’s mobile
carriers ever — a strong warning from the government.
Calling for fair competition in the nation’s mobile telecommunications industry,… the
Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning announced Friday that… SK Telecom, KT and
LG U-plus will be banned from signing up new customers… and allowing existing users to
buy new devices for 45 days. KT, the number two player in the market,…
will face suspension starting March 13th… followed by leading carrier SK Telecom from
April 5th. LG U-plus’ suspension will be split into two
separate periods, the first one starting on March 13th.
A ministry official says… the government had to suspend two of the companies simultaneously…
because the last time the three took turns complying with a similar ban,… it triggered
even more competition… as they tried to snatch up one another’s customers… while
the other was out of commission. In January last year,… the three firms were
suspended… for enticing customers with illegal subsidies — a long-time, almost customary
tactic… where they offer to pay, in different amounts,… a huge chunk of what the customers
are supposed to pay… for mobile devices. Following Friday’s announcement… industry
insiders voiced concerns… that the nation’s longest-ever suspension will deal a blow to
second-tier handset makers such as LG Electronics and Pantech,… as well as smaller retailers…
rather than persuading the operators to ditch their bad habits.
Laah Hyun-kyung, Arirang News.