2nd round of limitless data competition… KT under fire after LGU+’s gunport
Jong Ye Lin | yeslin@ | 2018-05-31 11:19:41

The unlimited data fee competition of mobile carriers has come to an end in earnest. LG U+ ran first and attracted the attention of users, and KT fired the war in three months. SK Telecom is also expected to play a role in countermeasures, as two of the three companies have unlimited data services.

It is LG U+ which opened the door. In February, LG +s introduced unlimited data rates, the first of three, to be unlimited in terms of speed and capacity. LG U + is aggressively taking steps to increase demand for this plan. In particular, we are showing differentiated services by releasing video services such as U + professional baseball and U + golf. In the second half of the year, the company will show a variety of other services such as sports and performances. LG U + said that users who subscribe to the plan are 9 times more likely than those who subscribe to the same high-priced fare in the fourth quarter of last year.

Thus, KT also participated in the competition. KT showed a complete unlimited plan on the 30th, such as LG U +, at W80,000. KT`s decision seems to be aimed at preventing existing subscribers departure and attracting competitors. KT also released a plan to offer 100GB of data at 60,000 won per month. Even if it exceeds this, data can be provided at a maximum speed of 5Mbps, so that high-definition (HD) video can be seen without difficulty. It is estimated that many `heavy users` will move to the corresponding fare system.

The reason mobile operators jumped into an unlimited data battle is that cell phone usage patterns are moving from voice and text to data. In fact, the monthly average traffic per user of domestic LTE smartphone users surged from 3.3GB in March 2015 to about 6.9GB in March this year. Data-intensive users tend to prefer unlimited data rates. According to the Ministry of Science and Technology, the average per-user traffic for unlimited rate users was around 18.9 GB in March this year, from about 13.76 GB in March 2015. It`s a big difference from the typical monthly rate of 1.9GB in March 2015 vs. 1.84GB in March of this year. An actual LG U + related official said, "The portion of subscribers over 80,000 won, which was 2.7% in the third quarter of last year, increased to 10% in the fourth quarter."

SK Telecom, the No. 1 operator, has been in a hurry. SK Telecom, which has a large number of subscribers, has a small frequency band per person. There is also a risk that the unlimited data service will lead to the deterioration of network quality. However, in some cases, SK Telecom has been cautiously considering the possibility of unlimited data plans through technological improvements.

An SK Telecom representative said, "We are preparing to show innovative services such as new rate plans and roaming." Actually, in February 2018, Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, Park Jung-ho, president of SK Telecom, announced the restructuring of MNO service. However, SK Telecom is also struggling with the fact that it will not be able to launch its plans at will, unlike KT and LG U +. An SK Telecom official said, "In case of SK Telecom, the number one provider, it is necessary to obtain permission from the Ministry of Information and Communication, and a lot of procedures are necessary if a new wireless plan is launched as an authorization target."

By Jong Ye Lin yeslin@

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