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Telecoms Pressured to Cut Service Charges

Posted September. 07, 2007 08:14,   


The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) has changed its long-standing position of ‘respecting market principles.’ The Ministry is now putting pressure on telecommunications companies to consider declining service charges in the form of a recommendation.

According to the ministry and the industry on September 6, an MIC official was confirmed to have met a high-ranking official of Korea’s largest service provider SK Telecom and to have urged SK Telecom to consider reducing fees for customers who do not use their mobile phones much.

The government official said, “It is true that I sent the message to consider ways to cut service costs for the socially vulnerable, including adolescents, disabled people and senior citizens, based on the wishes of the presidential commission.

The day the message was sent was the same day presidential spokesperson Cheon Ho-seon had an open briefing. The briefing said that mobile service charges should improve and new charges should be introduced to reflect the needs of low-income families and youth.

The apparent ‘administrative guideline’ is going against the ministry’s self-claimed principles, which may bring about controversy.

The MIC’s former minister Roh Jun-hyeong announced the principles many times in the past. On June 26, before the National Assembly, he said, “A plan for fueling competition among telecom operators is in place, but administrative guidelines for cutting bills are not.”

Yoo Yeong-hwan, the new minister of the MIC who took office on September 4, has repeatedly announced respect for market principles in his inaugural speech.

A telecom industry insider said, “Discounts for youth and the disabled are already in place and implemented. This recommendation is indeed pressure to cut charges.”

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