Mobiles carriers offer breaks to Sewol familiesMobile carriers will eliminate all mobile phone charges and penalties for the families of victims of the Sewol ferry disaster.
The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said SK Telecom, KT and LG U+ will exempt all service charges, penalties and installment payments for April and May.
The exemptions apply to deceased and missing passengers and crew members, and their relatives, including parents, partners, brothers, sisters and children.
The carriers will cancel penalties for early termination of contracts and remaining installment payments for deceased and missing persons.
For survivors who wish to purchase a new smartphone due to damage or loss of the old phone, mobile carriers exempt remaining installment payments and offer financial support.
“However, victims and families whose identities have not yet been verified could be charged their regulare bills without a reduction,” said a spokesman for the science ministry.
“Through cooperation with related organizations, we plan to speed up the identification process and reduce the communications cost as soon as possible.”
The science ministry also added that it plans to provide the benefits to victims and their families without visiting them or having them apply for the reduction.
However, the identification process takes time due to privacy concerns.
“We will automatically cut the communications cost of victims by receiving a list of names from related agencies,” said a spokesman for SK Telecom.
“Even before we receive the list of names, we will process the reduction at our retail stores if there is an application.”
On April 25, the family of a deceased student on Sewol ferry tried to cancel the contract of the student’s mobile phone with a carrier and the company levied 600,000 won in penalties.
Due to the accident, some families had to pay as much as 1 million won or more for canceling contracts.
Ansan City Government proposed exempting cancellation penalties and communications costs for deceased and missing persons to the Ministry of Security and Public Administration.
BY KIM JUNG-YOON [firstname.lastname@example.org]