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Korea’s cell phone fees the world’s highest, agency says

July 30,2009
If you live in Korea, it might be time to think twice before making those long calls on your cell.

According to the Korea Consumer Agency yesterday, Korea has the highest mobile phone fees of 15 countries, with more than 180 MOUs (monthly minutes of use) per subscriber. The other countries are 11 OECD countries - the U.S., Australia, England, Sweden, Canada, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, New Zealand and Norway - plus Hong Kong, Singapore and Israel.

The agency reported that the price per minute for domestic mobile phone calls in Korea is an average of $0.1443, compared to $0.1024 on average for the 15 countries mentioned above, including Korea. It added that Korea’s position in the ranking has been climbing steadily, from 10th place in 2004, to seventh in 2006 and second in 2007.

The agency said the fees were calculated based on fees charged by the top mobile operators in each country and reports, including Merrill Lynch’s Global Wireless Matrix.

Local operators KT and SKT issued statements yesterday refuting the KCA report, saying that a simple, payment-per-minute comparison cannot serve as accurate data.

“Various calling patterns, payment methods and a country’s economic status, among other factors, need to be examined,” the KT statement said.

The Korea Communications Commission also held a briefing yesterday stating its opposition to the KCA report. It based its complaint on differences in the number of subscribers versus the number of mobile devices in Europe and Korea, which it said put Korea at a disadvantage when fees are calculated.


By Cho Jae-eun [jainnie@joongang.co.kr]



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