5G competition heats up as KT launches unlimited data plan


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Leading Korean mobile carrier KT on Tuesday introduced its “unlimited” data plan for the fifth-generation wireless network, heating up competition over the hyperspeed network service that marks the world’s first commercial launch Friday. 

During a press conference in Seoul, KT said it came up with series of pricing packages to allow subscribers to use 5G data without speed limits. The price for unlimited data will start at 80,000 won ($70.40) per month under the “Super Plan Basic,” the telecom company added. 

Under the previous unlimited scheme of 4G Long Term Evolution, data speeds were capped once consumers used a set amount of data. According to KT, the Super Plan Basic data plan is about 10,000 won cheaper than its 4G LTE counterpart.

“Given the expected increase in demand for contents such as ultra-high definition footage and virtual reality, we came up with an unlimited data plan,” said Lee Pil-Jae, senior executive vice president of KT’s marketing group. 

KT

The company also came up with two other unlimited packages with greater benefits, priced at 100,000 won and 130,000 per month. KT additionally unveiled an affordable plan called 5G Slim at 55,000 won, but which caps speeds after 8 gigabytes of data has been used.

The announcement appears to be an attempt by KT to get ahead of competitors as consumers begin to migrate from LTE to 5G starting Friday – when Samsung Electronics rolls out its first 5G-powered smartphone, the Galaxy S10 5G.

KT is the first mobile carrier to introduce an unlimited data plan. Smaller rival LG Uplus did not include an unlimited package into its pricing plan released last week. SKT was set to announce its pricing plan Wednesday, but it remained to be seen whether it would match KT.

“It’s like a checkmate move for us,” said a KT official, stressing it is an unprecedented decision for a telecommunications firm to introduce data plans without speed or usage caps before a service launch. “We are trying to overwhelm our competitors by gaining the upper hand in pricing plans.”

KT is the second-largest mobile carrier, followed by LG Uplus, which released three pricing plans last week. They include 55,000 won per month for 9 gigabytes, 75,000 won per month for 150 gigabytes and 95,000 per month for 250 gigabytes.

According to industry watchers here, SKT’s pricing plan is expected to consist of four levels: 55,000 won for 8 gigabytes, 75,000 won for 150 gigabytes, 95,000 won for 200 gigabytes and 125,000 won for 300 gigabytes.

(jasonyeo@heraldcorp.com)


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