South Korea phone carriers fined $11m over subsidies

Fined for trying to lure each other’s subscribers with subsidies

Gulf News

Seoul: A South Korean watchdog said on 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 penalised 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.