SEOUL, Dec. 6 (Korea Bizwire) – Mobile carriers have issued criticism of the methodology through which the Finnish consulting firm Rewheel gathered the data for its Digital Fuel Monitor report, which singled out South Korea for having the heftiest smartphone data fees among 41 countries.
The report, released on December 1, examined the prices set by 187 carriers (including 58 resellers) in OECD and European Union member states. In all, 1,628 data offerings were analyzed.
For smartphone data plans that offered at minimum 1,000 free minutes per month, South Korean carriers were found to charge the highest amount, at 13.4 euros (approximately 17,300 won) per 1 GB of 4G LTE data. In addition, for plans that offered solely data and no minutes, 22 GB of 4G data for 30 euros placed South Korea 33rd out of 41 countries.
As more and more South Koreans have picked up on Rewheel’s findings, public anger has mounted, leading domestic carriers to launch rebuttals of the study.
One representative for one of the three carriers said, “Rewheel’s study reviewed a specific assortment of phone plans costing below 30 euros, but the study’s approach does not correctly reflect South Korean phone plan usage patterns. Also, [the study] did not include the 25 percent smartphone plan discount deal that is currently offered, and did not account for mobile virtual network operators.”
A member of another carrier pointed out that the number of phone plans that were included in the study varied from country to country, while the evaluation for South Korea was reached by calculating the median value from twelve phone plans from all three carriers.
The individual added, “South Korea’s data usage environment is one of the world’s best, so it doesn’t make sense to make simplistic comparisons between [South Korea] and Europe.”
Meanwhile, the carrier’s statements earned a rebuke from NGO People Power 21, whose leader Ahn Jin-gil said, “The three carriers only provide 300 MB of data on monthly phone plans that cost 32,900 won, yet to make such assertions suggesting that the figures are nonsense holds no water.”
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)