SEOUL, Jun. 12 (Korea Bizwire) — Following in the footsteps of SKT and LG Uplus, KT is freeing its Wi-Fi access points to the public, becoming the last of the three major South Korean mobile network providers to join the government’s effort to create a nationwide free Wi-Fi zone.
KT’s latest move to join its rivals as the telecom network with the most Wi-Fi access points comes on the heels of growing pressure from the Moon administration, as the president promised during his campaign to cut unnecessary phone bill charges as well as provide access to free Wi-Fi to the general public.
As the government has been seen accelerating its efforts to scrap what are known as basic charges for mobile customers, with a special presidential advisory committee for state affairs planning last week urging the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) to speed up the process, some say KT’s latest move is carefully calculated to show Moon’s government that the company is doing its fair share.
With KT on board, South Korea will have a total of more than 200,000 free Wi-Fi access points across the country provided by the major three telecom networks.
In April, President Moon announced a plan to reduce phone bills, saying, “Mobile network providers will free their Wi-Fi access points to the public and other areas out of their reach will be covered by public Wi-Fi zones set up by both the central and local governments.”
KT initially refused to free up its Wi-Fi infrastructure for the public, which was exclusively used by KT users, over concerns that service quality could deteriorate.
However, the Moon administration’s resolute approach to cheaper phone bills has finally seen the country’s second-biggest telecom network join the government’s initiative after years of reluctance.
This means regardless of the mobile carrier, anyone who is a subscriber with one of the three major mobile network providers can use over 200,000 Wi-Fi access points across the country free of charge.
While the good news of KT’s participation in the government’s Wi-Fi infrastructure effort is a step in the right direction, growing disagreement on the scrapping of basic charges on the other hand suggests there is still a big elephant in the room that is waiting to be addressed.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)