SEOUL, July 20 (Korea Bizwire) — A growing number of South Korean 5G handset users are making a u-turn back to the preceding 4G long-term evolution (LTE) plans, in part to save money but also due to a lack of new LTE handsets.
In principle, this is a consumer’s right – they are free to choose the plan they want.
In reality, however, it costs them extra pain and inconvenience due to mobile operators’ reluctance to support this type of switch.
South Korea’s major telecom operators say there are a growing number of cases where 5G smartphone users switch from their initial 5G plan to an LTE plan despite the fact that the procedure for this type of switch is more onerous than for a switch between different 5G plans.
The know-how on how to make a switch from 5G plans to LTE plans is typically shared by word of mouth.
For those who have purchased unlocked phones, devices that are compatible with any carrier, they can use an LTE plan simply by making use of an LTE SIM card that they used before.
If they don’t have an LTE SIM card, they can purchase one from mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs).
Key factors behind the return to LTE plans include customer dissatisfaction with the high cost of 5G plans, which have a starting price of 50,000 won (US$41.47), as well as the poor quality of 5G services.
Another factor is the lack of diversity among the latest premium models, most of which are released only on a 5G exclusive basis, narrowing consumer choice.
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)