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New Subscribers of Mobile Phones Will Have Same Number from Next Year

New Subscribers of Mobile Phones Will Have Same Number from Next Year

Posted January. 16, 2003 23:30,   


From Jan. 1, 2003, new subscribers of mobile phones will have their phone numbers starting with 010, a 3rd-generation telecommunications number instead of the current numbers of each carrier (011, 017, 016, 018, 019). The existing subscribers also can change their numbers to 010 if they want to.

The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) said on Jan. 16 that it will formulate a `plan to change mobile phone numbers` and put it into practice through discussion of the Korean Communications Commission (KCC) scheduled for Jan. 27.

From next year, new subscribers and users who want to change their phone numbers will unexceptionally have the numbers starting with 010. The existing users can still have the same number, while they can ask for the number 010 if they want.

Accordingly, it is impossible to know with the phone number which telecommunications company the new subscribers selected.

In addition, from the first day of next year, when customers of SK Telecom terminate the service and join other carriers, they can keep the same number. KTF customers can change their numbers from July 1, 2003, while customers of LG Telecom can from Jan. 1, 2002.

SK Telecom refuted that the plan by the MIC is an attempt to break up the company. According to the company, the number of their new customers last year was 5 million and that of those who changed the numbers was 3.55 million.

An official of the company said, “It is nonsense to get rid of the value of 011, a product of a huge expense and efforts. The choice of mobile phone numbers depends on customers. It can`t be a target of regulation by the government.”

Seo Kwang-hyun, director of Valued Communication Division of the MIC, said, “When the mobile phone numbers are combined to 010, it will be very convenient to use 8-digit numbers without pressing the numbers of each carrier. Also, it will dismiss a dispute over unfairness stemmed from different brand images of the telecommunications companies.

Jong sik Kong kong@donga.com