Consortium bids to be 4th mobile telco in South Korea

Summary:A new player could enter by April 2015 if its license application is approved, promising lower mobile tariffs across the country by as much as 60 percent.

Mobile rates in South Korea are set to get cheaper if a fourth player applying for a license to enter the market is successful.

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KMI consortium bids to be the 4th mobile telco in South Korea.

The bid comes from a local consortium called Korea Mobile Internet (KMI), which comprises mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) that rent networks from existing telcos, according to Yonhap news.

KMI is planning to offer rates that are 60 percent cheaper than currently what's offered by the three major players LG plus, KT Corporation, and SK Telecom, noted the article.

"We aim to attract 8.6 million subscribers five years after the launch of our service, and will turn to the black in 2020 as well," it added.

Its services will be based on long-term evolution (LTE) time-division duplex (TDD) and may start before April 2015 in the country's 85 major cities before being expanded to other regions.

The approval is expected to be decided next year after the consortium's business plans and technical requirements are reviewed. Its earlier bid was turned down based on a weak financial status and technical problems, pointed out Yonhap. According to KMI, it now has some 853 billion won (US$799 million) in capital from investors including China Telecom.

South Korea has been pushing to lower rates in the industry to help reduce the overall cost of living . From September, new rules required telcos to phase out registration fees which range from 24,000 won (US$21.43) to 39,600 won (US$35.36) per user. This is estimated to cut mobile charges by around 500 billion won (US$447 million) annually.

Topics: Telcos, Korea

About

Loves caption contests, leisurely strolls along supermarket aisles and watching How It's Made. Ryan has covered finance, politics, tech and sports for TV, radio and print. He is also co-author of best seller "Profit from the Panic". Ryan is an editor at ZDNet's Asia/Singapore office.

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