The Korea Herald

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지나쌤

Telecom discount plan delayed until next week

By Cho Ji-hyun

Published : May 26, 2011 - 19:08

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The government is delaying its announcement of a telecom fees discount plan until next week after fierce opposition from political circles early this week.

According to the draft plan, prepared following talks between a state taskforce and local telecoms, mobile carriers are to offer 50 more free text messages every month and subscription costs for mobile phone services are to be halved for teenagers and seniors. The plan had been expected to be unveiled this week.

A monthly module plan, in which subscribers could pick the number of voice minutes, text messages and data usage amount, and a blacklist system for telecoms are also expected to take shape, industry sources say.

Telecoms would manage lost or stolen mobile phones with international mobile equipment identity numbers in the blacklist system. The system will allow consumers buy gadgets directly from manufacturers and insert a universal subscriber identity module belonging to any telecom to activate the service.

On Wednesday, Choi See-joong, chairman of the Korea Communications Commission, told reporters that the telecom fee-cut plan is expected to be announced early next week, however, the passage remains uncertain with political circles still pushing telecoms to lower basic service rates and subscription costs for all customers.

In response, telecoms argue that the discount is almost impossible because their yearly revenue would decrease by 600 billion won even if they cut 1,000 won a month for all consumers.

With such drastic cuts in earnings, difficulties would arise in making investments, particularly in network management and establishment, according to industry sources.

“We would have to let go our dreams and plans,” said Lee of KT, when stating that the firm would lower its fees if ordered to do so.

“There is a lot of investment to make with the blooming smart era,” he said. “The role of a telecom service operator doesn’t end in simply providing telecommunications services, but also expands to completing new projects and grabbing new opportunities for local and overseas market through investments.”

By Cho Ji-hyun (sharon@heraldcorp.com)