Operators to lose $980m in fees as South Korea cuts telecoms bills

Alan Burkitt-Gray
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Government of new president Moon Jae-in says it will increase discounts to mobile customers

The South Korean government is threatening to reduce the income of mobile phone operators KT, SK Telecom and LG Uplus by ordering them to give discounts on rates.

The current discount rate of 20% will be raised to 25% from 15 September, says South Korean news agency Yonhap, reporting a government statement this morning.

The promise of lower telecoms costs featured in Moon Jae-in’s presidential campaign, which he won in May.

Ministry of Science and ICT’s decision means that 19 million customers will see a fall in their bills by the equivalent of $980 million, says the agency, which says that the discount is normally offered to subscribers of a two-year contract pay plan if they opt not to receive a handset subsidy.

The three carriers are opposing the move, and the agency says some may consider legal action. The increased discount will apply to new customers only, it adds.