S. Korea Phone Carriers Fined Almost $11 mn Over Subsidies
A South Korean watchdog said Monday it fined three mobile service providers almost $11 million in total for trying to lure each other's subscribers with banned subsidies in the fiercely competitive market.
The Korea Communications Commission said it fined top mobile carrier SK Telecom 6.89 billion won, while KT and LG Uplus were fined 2.86 and and 2.15 billion won respectively.
The commission banned LG Uplus from signing up new subscribers for 24 days from January 7. SK Telecom was banned for 22 days and KT for 20 days.
Authorities have periodically penalized telecoms firms for trying to poach subscribers from rival companies with excessive subsidies, saying such a practice would hurt fair competition.
The commission Monday urged mobile carriers to focus instead on providing a high-quality service and low service charges.
South Korea, one of the world's most wired countries, has more than 30 million smartphone users out of a total population of some 50 million.