A red flag has been raised for 5G services of Korean mobile carriers as the government refused to approve a 5G service rate plan submitted by SK Telecom.
The three carriers invested trillions of won in their 5G services, which were launched for the first time in the world. But it has become difficult for them to develop a service fee plan to recoup their massive investment. Therefore, they will hardly be able to avoid deficits.
The Ministry of Science and ICT rejected SK Telecom’s 5G service pricing plan on March 5, saying that it only had fees for heavy data and high-paying users, limiting the rights of light data users to select services.
The decision caught mobile carriers off guard as they believed that they had no choice but to focus on heavy data users as 5G services are initially available only in some limited areas of Seoul and other major cities.
"It is natural to launch a monthly plan to offer heavy data use for heavy users first. Then the gradual popularization of 5G services will lead to various types of monthly plans,” said an official in the mobile service industry.
In particular, the government's rejection of SK Telecom’s plan is considered very unusual. SK Telecom, the leader of the mobile service market, is required to receive government approval of its monthly plans, while KT and LG U+ have only to report their monthly plans to the government. The government has been moving to abolish the approval system. But it applied the approval system to the 5G rate plan submitted by a mobile carrier.