SEOUL, May 10 (Korea Bizwire) – More than 19 million smartphone and other mobile device users in South Korea have adopted various types of “data plans” that offer unlimited talk and text services for free, reflecting a surge in mobile data traffic, industry officials said Monday.
The big-three local firms — SK Telecom Co., KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp. — introduced the program a year ago to charge customers fees in accordance with the amount of monthly data usage. Unlimited data plans are also available.
The number of people to choose the plans has reached 9.4 million for SK, 5 million for KT and 4.65 million for LG.
The popularity of the fee system has led to a sharp rise in data traffic.
A mobile service user consumed 4,630 megabytes of data on average in March, up 32 percent from a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.
“The data plans have completely taken root in just a year,” an industry official said. “Those are expected to remain a key fee system for the mobile carriers until 5G communication is commercialized in around 2020.”