SEOUL, Oct. 10 (Korea Bizwire) – Prices of mobile handsets sold in South Korea are some 2.6 times the global average, a lawmaker claimed Tuesday, apparently as tech giants are reluctant to release more budget models locally.
Citing the data compiled by industry tracker Gartner, Rep. Byun Jae-il of the ruling Democratic Party said the average sales price of handsets in South Korea from 2015 to the second quarter of this year was tallied at US$514, hovering far above the global average of $197.
Over the cited period, the average price of Samsung Electronics Co.’s devices came to $508 in South Korea, compared with their global average price of $223.
The average price tag of LG Electronics Inc.’s handsets reached $361 in the country during the cited period, which is two times higher than the global price of $176.
Industry watchers said the gap came as the two focused on selling high-end smartphones in South Korea compared with overseas markets.
According to Gartner, premium handsets accounted for 32 percent of the global market in the fourth quarter of 2016, while that of the domestic market came to 87.9 percent.
A survey conducted last month on 1,000 consumers showed 75.6 percent of South Koreans feel burdened by telecom-related costs, apparently due to pricy handsets, according to Green Consumer Network, a civic group.
“The latest survey showed that only cutting subscription costs has a limited impact on reducing the burden on households,” Byun said, adding that the government should focus on expanding sales of budget handsets and providing consumers with a wider range of choices.