SKT hits the beach with a daiquiri and free data in Guam

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SKT hits the beach with a daiquiri and free data in Guam


Mobile carriers are duking it out in their bid to offer the most competitive roaming services as more and more Koreans are heading overseas.

SK Telecom on Tuesday introduced a special roaming plan for travelers to Guam and Saipan that enables subscribers to use their normal data plan while abroad.

This means that if a user subscribes to SK Telecom’s “Large” data plan, which gives 100 gigabytes of data per month, they can continue to use their data while in Guam or Saipan. Even after the 100 gigabytes runs out, users can still use data at slower speeds of 400 kilobits per second, according to the mobile carrier.

In the past, users had to pay additional roaming fees on top of their monthly phone bills.

The official launch of the service is scheduled for Sept. 19. SK Telecom subscribers who travel to Guam or Saipan between Sept. 19 and Dec. 20 will get extra data under a special promotion.

“From Sept. 19 through Dec. 20, we decided to give one gigabyte of data every day for Guam and Saipan travelers,” said Hong Seung-jin, a team leader in the mobile network operations division at SK Telecom, at a press briefing held Tuesday in Seoul. “From Dec. 21, users will be able to use their local phone plans in those two destinations.”

Other changes to come from Sept. 19 include cheaper voice call rates and free text messages. Customers will get three minutes of free phone calls per day, with a charge of 1.98 won (0.18 cents) per second for all additional minutes, considerably cheaper than the current 25 won per second fee.

SK Telecom said it chose Guam and Saipan because they are one of the top 10 tourist destinations for Koreans, with over a million Koreans traveling to the islands last year. Hong said the company hopes to apply such roaming deals to other destinations as well, but added that it is a difficult process to negotiate a deal with foreign carriers.

To introduce the service, SK Telecom invested 35 billion won in IT&E, a mobile carrier operating in Guam and Saipan, to become the second largest shareholder.

“This may not help us with profit right now, but in the long term, we would like to absorb customers using local sim or pocket wifi routers to avoid heavy roaming fees,” Hong said.

KT focused on lowering voice call fees for roaming service users from May. Currently it offers voice calls at 1.98 won per second in 13 countries including the United States, China and Japan. LG U+ also released an unlimited roaming data plan for travelers to 37 countries in May. With a payment of 13,200 won per day, LG subscribers can enjoy unlimited data that does not compromise on transmission speeds.

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