Telecoms maintain subsidies for new phones
Despite criticism of low subsidies this week from lawmakers at a parliamentary audit of the ICT Ministry, telecommunications companies made no major changes to the discounts they are offering on the latest smartphones.
Three weeks have passed since the Mobile Device Distribution Improvement Act took effect, but the subsidies for the Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy S5 Broadband LTE-A, LG G3 Cat.6 and iPhone 5S have all stayed the same.
The telecoms can announce new subsidies once per week.
KT, the nation’s No. 2 mobile carrier, and LG U+, the third-largest carrier, maintained the smartphone subsidies they had listed last Wednesday, while biggest carrier SK Telecom increased the discounts it offers on some old models.
KT yesterday raised the subsidy it offers on the tablet PC Galaxy Note 10.1 to 294,000 won ($276) from 161,000 won.
SK Telecom increased the subsidies on old models such as Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3, which was launched over a year ago, to 227,000 won yesterday from 133,000 won last week, with a two-year contract.
For the Galaxy Grand 2, SKT expanded subsidies from 255,000 won to 300,000 won. It was also the first time SKT offered a discount on LG Electronics’ Optimus G and Optimus View 2, worth 499,000 won.
“The strategies and the policies of local smartphone manufacturers and mobile carriers after Oct. 31, when the iPhone 6 will be launched in the domestic market, should determine how much increases will be seen in the subsidies,” said a spokesman for a mobile carrier on the condition of anonymity.
“Mobile carriers and manufacturers will consider the prices of the new iPhones and the amount of subsidies provided on them. In other words, it is likely that the subsidies won’t change until the iPhone 6 is launched in the market.”
BY KIM JUNG-YOON [firstname.lastname@example.org]