SEOUL, July 3 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s three major telecom operators are expected to be slapped with a record fine over illegal subsidies for customers, industry sources said Friday.
The three companies — SK Telecom Co., KT Corp., and LG Uplus Corp — have been suspected of providing massive amounts of illegal phone subsidies to gain 5G users since they launched the next-generation network in April last year.
The Korea Communications Commission (KCC), the country’s telecommunications watchdog, is widely expected to decide on a penalty against the three firms next week following its probe into the illicit subsidies that were distributed between April and August last year.
“We are working toward holding a plenary session on July 8,” an official at the KCC said.
Industry insiders expect that the fine could total over 70 billion won (US$58.4 million), and even up to 80 billion won.
So far, the largest fine imposed on the three carriers was 50.6 billion won in 2018.
The three carriers made an agreement last month to jointly monitor illegal subsidy activities.
As of the end of May, there were 6.9 million 5G subscribers, accounting for 10 percent of the total 69 million mobile service users in the country.