Discounts to disappoint Galaxy S6, Edge buyers

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Discounts to disappoint Galaxy S6, Edge buyers

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Consumers demo the newest Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones, officially launched by Samsung Electronics on Friday, at KT Olleh Square in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul. [NEWSIS]

Those purchasing Samsung Electronics’ new flagship smartphones Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge may benefit from subsidies of up to 211,000 won ($193), as mobile carriers launched offline sales of the much-anticipated models on Friday.

The largest subsidy will come from KT.

The nation’s three mobile carriers - SK Telecom, KT and LG U+, in order of revenue and number of subscribers - unveiled the list of subsidies that vary according to the storage size and monthly plans users choose.

The more expensive the monthly plan, the bigger the subsidy size becomes.

But the subsidies have disappointed some prospective Galaxy purchasers, who were hoping for more discounts.

Buyers were hopeful after the country’s top telecom watchdog, the Korea Communications Commission, raised the ceiling for subsidies to 330,000 won on Wednesday, up from 300,000 won.

Individual stores may offer an additional subsidy equivalent to 15 percent of the carriers’ subsidy, capped at 49,500 won.

That means a 32-gigabyte Galaxy S6 could conceivably carry a price tag of under 600,000 won at some stores, after the two types of subsidies are applied.

But consumers were still disappointed by the final prices, which were kept high despite expectations.

Carriers do not need to arrange for hefty subsidies for smartphone models that are predictably popular - the Galaxy S6 series, for instance.

Based on the premise that a new subscriber opts for the highest-priced 76,000 won monthly plan and a two-year contract, SK Telecom will offer a 130,000 won subsidy for a 32GB S6, the smallest among the new Galaxy series, and 120,000 won for a 64GB model.

For the S6’s cousin, the curved S6 Edge, the subsidy has been set at 120,000 won for a 32GB model and 140,000 won for a 64GB model.

After the subsidies are applied, the Galaxy S6 will cost 728,000 won for the 32GB and 804,000 won for the 64GB. The S6 Edge will cost 979,000 won for the 32GB model, and 1,056,000 won for 64GB.

SK’s premium monthly plan allows for unlimited voice calls, 300 minutes of video calls and 100 gigabytes of data.

Although Samsung Electronics initially showcased a 128 GB model for both the S6 and S6 Edge, it won’t be immediately available in Korea due to a lack of demand.

Samsung has decided to retail the 32GB S6 at 858,000 won; the 64GB S6 at 924,000 won; the 32GB S6 Edge at 979,000 won; and the 64GB S6 Edge at 1,056,000 won.

KT, the second-largest carrier, will offer subsidies between 164,000 won and 211,000 won with a two-year contract and a monthly plan of 99,000 won.

LG U+ will provide subsidies between 166,000 won and 194,000 won with a monthly plan of 124,000 won. For those who choose a monthly plan of 34,000 won, the subsidy will shrink to as low as 46,000 won.

BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]

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