SEOUL, April 12 (Korea Bizwire) – The former leader of the opposition Democratic Party, Moon Jae-in, has announced a series of plans to reshape South Korea’s mobile industry that will see widely criticized basic charges imposed by major telecommunications companies scrapped, a move that could widen his lead over rival candidate Ahn Cheol-soo from the People’s Party.
With less than four weeks remaining before the presidential election scheduled for May 9, Moon’s announcement to cap cell phone bills and hold telecommunications companies more accountable for their mobile plans is a policy that could resonate with many of his potential voters.
Moon’s plan to reduce the economic burden on households through cheaper phone bills was spawned out of a previous idea first conceived by the floor leader from the same party, Woo Sang-ho.
The current law regulating mobile phone prices has long been criticized by customers for its ineffectiveness to lower average market prices.
Speaking to the press, Moon slammed fees that South Korean major mobile carriers like SKT and KT impose on their clients in the name of “basic charges”, saying, “Basic charges are there to help networks build basic network infrastructure, but enough capital investment has been provided.”
“The claims of telecom companies that they need basic charges in order to maintain and repair their network infrastructure pale in comparison to trillions of won in profits. I will scrap basic charges to share profits with marginalized members of society, like elders,” Moon added.
Another initiative suggested by Moon will reduce the upfront price of new mobile phones, while requiring phone makers and mobile carriers to distinguish which party is offering discounts so as to provide more choice and clarity to consumers purchasing a new device.
As mobile phone use trends are shifting heavily towards data rather than voice calls and texts, Moon’s comprehensive plan to reduce phone bills overall will see more phone network operators introduce new monthly plans catering towards heavy data use.
Two bigger plans were also revealed yesterday, one of which was to cover more areas with WiFi, with the goal of making the whole of South Korea a free WiFi zone.
The other will require cooperation from neighboring countries as Moon hopes to establish a criss-cross inclusive roaming zone with China and Japan.