SEOUL, Feb. 15 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korean mobile carriers are likely to cut this year’s facility investment to around 2010 levels, industry watchers said Monday, casting doubt over their promises to provide better services.
SK Telecom Co., KT Corp. and LG Upluc Corp. are expected to invest a combined 6 trillion won (US$4.96 billion) this year, with KT spending the largest amount of 2.5 trillion won, they said.
It would a sharp drop from 8.2 trillion won posted in 2012 and would hover around the 6.05 trillion won posted in 2010.
Last year, the firms made a combined investment of 5.6 trillion won, although the three earlier vowed to invest 6.4 trillion won.
Citing their sluggish spending, local consumers have been urging the mobile carriers to abolish the so-called basic fee system. Rep. Woo Sang-ho of the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea also proposed a bill in April last year to ban it.
The carriers collect a monthly base fee of around 10,000 won from all subscribers regardless of their services, insisting that the amount is vital to make further investments in their networks.
The call for abolishing base fees also gained momentum when Korea Post launched a subscription plan without basic fees early this year through mobile virtual network operators that rent networks from the three carriers.