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Lingering COVID-19 fears deter people from changing telecom providers


With South Korea continuing to see the number of new COVID-19 infections per day back in the double digits after signs that the crisis was winding down, telecommunication services are gaining fewer new subscribers, industry sources said Tuesday.

The number of customers who moved from one service provider to another posted 16,082 during the third weekend of May, down by 25 percent from the two previous weekends.

The timing coincides with the revelation that nightclubs in the Itaewon area of Seoul were the center of a new cluster of infections, which alarmed the public.

The number of new subscribers in the first weekend of May was 20,157, and this increased to 21,342 a week later.

Industry watchers said concerns over a second wave of coronavirus cases appeared to have hindered potential customers from visiting stores, despite the cheaper availability of Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S20.

Hopes had also been high for the launches of the Apple iPhone SE, Samsung Galaxy A51 and LG Velvet in May.

“The number of visitors to the store seemed to increase earlier this month. But it again plunged after the recent viral outbreak at the nightclubs. It appears to be taking time to get back on track,” said an operator of a telecom retail store in Seoul.

By Shim Woo-hyun (