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Telecom operators out to gain more foreign customers

Telecom operators out to gain more foreign customers

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Published : 2013-12-23 19:54
Updated : 2013-12-23 20:23

The nation’s telecom operators have begun to provide more services aimed at foreign customers as the number of foreign nationals in Korea exceeded 1.5 million as of December.

KT has been most active in attracting foreign consumers.

“We run 18 Olleh shops where users can buy phones in the English, Japanese and Chinese languages in areas of Seoul, Gyeonggi Province, Daegu and Daejeon,” KT official Park Mi-seon said. Users can also dial 1583 to use services in the three languages.

“When I bought a USIM card here, I was misinterpreted and paid a high bill. The call center seems convenient for foreign users in Korea,” said Meagan Lunn, 27, a Harvard Graduate School student temporarily staying in Korea.

KT in June opened the Global Olleh Shop website global.olleh.com in English and Chinese for consumers to more conveniently buy Samsung, Apple, LG and Pantech smartphones.

“Users can also subscribe to pre-paid Universal Subscriber Identity Module, Internet, Internet TV and landline phones online,” Park said.

The company plans to increase the types of smartphones available online and to adopt a credit card payment system early next year.

LG Uplus is also providing services to lure more foreign users through subscription plans.

“Since October, we have provided Uplus International Free service taking aim at multicultural families and foreign workers in Korea,” LG Uplus official Park Chul-hwan said.

For instance, users, who subscribe to 72,000 won ($67) basic services, can have 500 minutes of free calls. But if they pay an extra 10,000 won for the International Free 10,000 service, they can use the 500 minutes on international calls.

Industry sources expect that as the number of foreign users in Korea is increasing, services for them are also expected to improve to minimize inconvenience. The number of foreign residents in Korea now stands at 1.57 million, accounting for 3 percent of the total population.

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)

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