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(LEAD) ICT minister requests introduction of mid-tier mobile data plan category in telecom industry meeting

20:25 July 11, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details at bottom; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, July 11 (Yonhap) -- Science and ICT Minister Lee Jong-ho on Monday met with the heads of South Korea's three major telecom operators and requested the introduction of a new mid-tier mobile data product category that better suits users' data usage.

The request came amid recent calls that currently available two tier 5G data plans -- for usages between 10 gigabytes and 12 gigabytes, and 110 gigabytes and 150 gigabytes per month -- failed to properly support the current monthly 5G average usages ranging between 23 gigabytes and 27 gigabytes.

"Since the current 5G plan is limited to small and large data plans, it is necessary to launch an intermediate plan that meets the user's demand in consideration of data usages," Lee said in the meeting with heads of SK Telecom Co., KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp. in Seoul.

Science and ICT Minister Lee Jong-ho (2nd from L) poses with the heads of the country's top three mobile carriers during their talks at the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Seoul on July 11, 2022. They discussed the introduction of a new mid-tier mobile data product category that better suits users' data usage. From left are Yoo Young-sang of SK Telecom, Ku Hyeon-mo of KT Corp. and Hwang Hyeon-sik of LG Uplus. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

Consumer groups have called for a new mid-tier data plan category that provided data usages between 20 gigabytes and 50 gigabytes priced under 60,000 won (US$46). The two price schemes currently available range around 55,000 won, and between 69,000 won and 75,000 won.

Lee asked the three telecom companies to complete the review and allow the mid-tier 5G rate plan to be launched as soon as possible.

The minister also asked the companies to work together with the government to overcome current economic difficulties, noting recently announced investment plans in such areas as artificial intelligence semiconductors will help the nation in overcoming difficulties.

Amid the request, industry leader SK Telecom earlier in the day submitted a plan to introduce such a new service category in August, according to a ministry official. KT and LG Uplus executives said the companies plan to offer similar products in August.

This file photo of a mobile phone vendor in Seoul shows logos of data plan products of South Korea's three major telecom companies. (Yonhap)



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