SEOUL, July 13 (Korea Bizwire) – Korean mobile carriers have seen an increase in voice phone calls after they introduced data-oriented rate plans. However, the increased phone calls are not expected to affect their revenue negatively, industry watchers have said.
According to telecom industry analysts, the top three mobile carriers including SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus saw an increase in voice calls since May, when they began to offer unlimited calls and text messages through their data-oriented rate plans.
An industry official said, “We need more time to track the trend as only two months have passed since the new rate plans were introduced. However, so far, we have seen 10 percent more voice phone calls thanks to our unlimited voice plans.”
In the case of SK Telecom, which offers a group calling service for smartphone users called “T Group on,” it also saw approximately 10 percent increases both in terms of call numbers and calling time.
An official at SK Telecom said, “Since the data rate plans were launched, subscribers can use the service for free and its usage is increasing. The new rate plan is shedding new light on the new function of voice calling.”
However, the increase in voice calling will not significantly reduce the profits of the mobile carriers.
In general, when subscribers make more calls, mobile carriers have to pay other carriers increased access charges, which reduces their profits. However, as the data-oriented mobile plans are made to encourage more data usage, they can offset the charges through increased date fees.
Meanwhile, two months since the data rate plans were introduced, subscriptions to the new plans are close to the five million mark. As of July 10, the total number of subscribers to the rate plans stood at 4.85 million, with 2.5 million SK Telecom subscribers, 1.32 million KT subscribers and 1.03 million LG Uplus subscribers.
By John Choi (email@example.com)