With SKT’s pricing plan release, Korea’s 5G preparations complete


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With South Korea’s biggest telecom company SK Telecom unveiling its own pricing plan for 5G services Wednesday, all the mobile carriers have wrapped up preparations for commercial rollout slated for Friday.

During a meeting with reporters in Seoul, SKT became the last carrier to announce pricing plans for the 5G network. It came a day after the second-largest carrier KT roiled the market with “unlimited” data plans without speed limits. 

(Yonhap)

According to SKT, consumers can choose from four plans that begin from 55,000 won ($48) for 8 gigabytes. The telecom company also introduced 89,000 won unlimited data plan as a promotion, which will be available until the end of this year.

“Depending on the maturity of the market, we could come up with additional pricing plans,” said SKT Executive Vice President Ryu Young-sang, leaving open the possibility that it may come up with different prices.

“It is not like we will take out unlimited data plans after the promotion period ends. Taking into account public demand and network coverage, we can come up with new pricings plans later on.”

SKT also has a 125,000-won unlimited data plan with greater benefits by using its own 5G contents. It also introduced a 75,000-won pricing plan that comes with 150 gigabytes worth of data.

Given the concerns over the lack of killer contents for 5G networks, SKT said it would come up with various platforms for augmented reality. The company said it would work with Pokenmon Go developer Niantic to release an AR-based game based on the Harry Porter series.

It also stressed that its network speeds are faster than competitors with 2.7 GPS, while suggesting the network is more extensive and secure.

“When it comes to coverage, we don’t want to lose out to our competitors,” said Executive Vice President Kang Jong-ryeol, who also heads ICT Infra Center.

After the country’s third-biggest mobile carrier LG Uplus became the first to announce 5G pricing plans last week, its rivals have been intensifying their efforst to gain the upper hand in embracing the hyperspeed network for business transformation.

While Korea is not yet ready for full-fledged, standalone 5G services capable of providing nationwide coverage, the mobile carriers have been hyping up their capabilities to deliver a faster network to wider areas at cheaper prices.

According to industry watchers, consumers can enjoy the speed of 5G, which is expected to be up to 20 times faster than the current 4G Long Term Evolution network. But it will come with higher prices.

Added with the price for the 5G smartphone, the monthly payment of 5G could reach up to 100,000 won even when using the cheapest price plan, according to Kim Joo-ho of People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy.

When subscribing to the cellular network’s data plans, consumers here usually purchase smartphones with monthly installment plans.

Currently, there is only one 5G smartphone available — Samsung Galaxy S10 5G.

Samsung’s first 5G smartphone is priced at about 1.39 billion won, about 250,000 won more expensive than Samsung S10 for LTE services.

By Yeo Jun-suk (jasonyeo@heraldcorp.com)


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