South Korean operators brace for possible record fines over 5G subsidies

South Korea’s telecoms regulator will investigate whether operators breached rules over contract subsidies when they rolled out 5G last year
5G, South Korea, Networks, Subscribers, KT Corporation, SK Telecom, LGU Plus

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Mobile network operators in South Korea are facing potentially record breaking fines over illegal subsidies for 5G customers, according to reports in the South Korean press.

A report by the Yonhap News Agency claims that South Korea’s telecoms regulatory body, The Korea Communications Commission, is preparing to slap the country’s operators with $57 million (70 billion Won) worth of fines for breaking rules on subsidies to customers on their 5G products.

Sources told Yonhap that the KCC was set to meet later this week to discuss whether the country’s operators had offered illegal subsidies to their customers in order to swell demand for their 5G network services.

SK Telecom, KT Corporation and LGU Plus are all accused of breaking KCC rules on pricing.

The legislation was introduced in 2014 to protect the country’s telecoms industry from descending into a race to the bottom on price, destroying margins for operators.

South Korea became the first country in the world to launch next generation mobile network services, when all three operators launched their 5G network offerings in April 2019.

South Korea now has more than 6.33 million 5G subscribers, as per the latest figures released at the end of April 2020.

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