5G customers get fast data and also the VIP treatment
With customers paying more per month for their subscriptions, the carriers are seeing an opportunity to create a Business Class for telephony.
They are going the extra mile for them - quite literally, at times - offering express home delivery, free at-home customer support and a wide variety of discounts.
For carriers, it just makes sense to treat customers like VIPs if they spend more than 50,000 won ($41.15) a month for service.
“If LTE customers paid around 42,000 won in monthly fees, in the 5G era, people pay around 60,000 won on average, so average revenue per user has significantly increased,” said Kim Hong-sik, a researcher at Hana Financial Investment.
KT is one company offering premium services for their 5G customers.
Since April 5, it has been providing a new level of support to customers who buy phones and plans online. The service involves consultants making house calls to help customers register new devices, transfer data and understand their monthly fees.
Three teams of two - two in Kia Morning box-cars and one in a Kia Carnival van - have traveled more than 31,473 kilometers (19,556 miles) since the service was started.
Kim Hyo-jin, a 34-year-old mother, has been on leave taking care of her 10-month-old son. At 5 p.m. on Monday, two KT employees knocked on the front door at her house in Majang-dong, eastern Seoul.
“You’re the one who ordered the Galaxy S10 5G, right?” asked KT consultant Jang Hee-nam as he entered the living room.
The other consultant looked up Kim’s profile on KT’s database and offered discount options available for the purchasing of a premium smartphone. She was able to find discounts for that she didn’t even know existed.
As Kim made the purchase, the two employees played her a movie on a virtual reality (VR) device while they transferred Kim’s photos, videos and Kakaotalk data to her new phone. Before leaving the apartment, the KT consultants even gave Kim a wireless charger that she had won in a lucky draw.
“I was afraid to go outside with my baby in this scorching weather, so I applied for the service,” Kim said. “But I didn’t know they would actually come to my house. It was convenient to register my new phone at my home without paying any additional fees.”
The service is not limited to disabled and the elderly, and a wide range of customers have requested the home visits.
“People like postnatal care workers, bank employees and parcel delivery workers who can’t leave their jobs at any point are our primary customers,” Jang said.
Parcel delivery workers who have to transport packages non-stop throughout the day are another target market for the new services. KT employees will follow their trucks and help them register new smartphones when they have a moment to take a short break.
“Our home-visit service is different as we include delivery, registration, data transfer, testing and online service care into a single package,” a KT spokesperson said.
Kim Dong-hyun, 28, suffers from a muscular disorder and was also pleased with KT’s new service.
“Some people ask why I need a good smartphone if I’m just staying home all day, but that is exactly for that reason I need a good smartphone,” Kim said. The smartphone “is the only way for me to stay connected with the world.”
As its home-visit service yields positive outcomes, KT plans to expand the service area for the offering, which is currently limited to the capital region, to six major cities in Korea this month.
It is also seeking to provide the service for those purchasing used smartphones.
KT is not alone. The country’s two other carriers, LG U+ and SK Telecom, have also beefed up services to cater to premium customers.
Starting April 26, LG U+ has started a three-hour delivery service for those who buy 5G smartphones from its online mall. If the new phone isn’t delivered in three hours as promised, the telecom company will give the customer two free movie tickets.
SK Telecom is to offer an enhanced delivery service beginning in August. If a customer orders a smartphone from its online shopping mall, the company delivers the phone on the same day and transfers their data for free.
“We are considering upgrading the delivery service by the time Galaxy Note 10, a 5G phone, launches,” an SK Telecom spokesperson said.
BY KIM KYUNG-JIN [email@example.com]