South Korea rules pre-installed phone bloatware must be deletable

South Korea rules pre-installed phone bloatware must be deletable

Summary: New guidelines will require the industry to allow smartphone users the option to delete unnecessary pre-loaded applications, to rectify unreasonable practices and reduce inconvenience.

TOPICS: Apps, Smartphones, Korea

Smartphone users in South Korea will soon be able to have the option of deleting unnecessary pre-installed bloatware, thanks to new industry guidelines commencing in April.

Samsung's S4 released by SK Telecom has a total of 80 pre-installed apps.

"The move aims to rectify an abnormal practice that causes inconvenience to smartphone users and causes unfair competition among industry players," said the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, in a press release.

The measure will also help give users more data storage and improve battery life, said the ministry.

Under the new guidelines, telcos are required to make most of their pre-installed apps deletable except for four necessary items related to Wi-Fi connectivity, near-field communication (NFC), the customer service center and the app store.

For example, Samsung's Galaxy S4 released by SK Telecom has a total of 80 apps pre-installed, including 25 apps loaded by the telco, 39 by Samsung and 16 by the OS provider Google, noted Yonhap News. When the new guidelines kick in, at least half of those apps can be deleted, it added.

Topics: Apps, Smartphones, Korea


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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  • Note Windows Phone has always had this. For both telcos and oems

    But yay south korea!! Please rest of world copy this!!!
    Johnny Vegas
  • This is going to screw Samsung
    • Win some, lose some

      It's not like chaebols like Samsung lack political influence in South Korea.
      John L. Ries
  • Its the funding model ....

    You want a cheap phone with a free OS? ... expect adverts and bloatware!
    You want to buy a clean device and load a paid OS ... Expect to pay!

    A simple mandatory warning along the lines of " Has 1GB memory but only 96Mb is usable" would do it for me along with a mandatory option of buying it "bloat free" for more money.

    Whatever next? A mandatory free phone unlocking service?
    • Why so angry?

      I don't think it's unreasonable to expect your phone not to be filled bloatware. Also the UK already has a mandatory free phone unlocking service, it's just not advertised, I think that's fair enough, it's like buying a computer and not being able to install any OS other than the one it came with, whats wrong with being able to change the device that you own
      • Mandatory free phone unlocking? Do tell...

        I bought my phone in the UK, and I would like to get it unlocked when I go home in a week or two. The last time I inquired with my network in the UK, I was told that there was a mandatory £10 fee charged by all UK networks for an NCK, which I confirmed was correct. If I can get this done free, everyone should know - not just us! :) Who do we contact to get this done please?
    • Except it isn't.

      My HTC One+ comes with A dropbox that I can't get rid off. Bought at full price, no subscription. Nice try tho'. Want to know the real reason? Drum roll please....


      It's the same reason Flash tries to sneak installing McAffee onto your computer every month when there's a new convenient update. Same with Java and Ask Jeeves Tollbar. It's not because Adobe and Oracle are trying to subsidize the cost of Flash or Java. It's because the millions they're making already, simply isn't enough for them.
      Mikkel Løkke
    • There are ways to get a clean OS

      There are plenty of ROMs available on the internet where you can basically get a modified version of the OS which doesn't come with bloatware and actually has better functionality or design than many of the stock OS's. It does take a little know-how, but there are a ton of tutorials online.
  • South Korea rules pre-installed phone bloatware must be deletable

    Don't expect Verizon to come into the South Korean market then.
    • Korea doesn't want Verizon

      Korea has it's own very healthy and thriving mobile carrier industry. Verizon uses CDMA while the rest of the world uses GSM. Korea really has no interest in bringing in global carriers.
  • South Korea did the right thing

    And interestingly enough, this decision was made under what passes locally as a conservative administration.
    John L. Ries
  • I guess people don't know Titanium Backup

    with this, you can delete anything you want
    Joohhnn Kim
    • that only works for a small crowd

      Its nice if you have the technical skills required to root your device, but the average user does not posses the knowledge or even understand what rooting is. Unfortunately most preinstalled apps on Droid require you to root in order to remove them or install a utility that will allow you to do so.
  • Now how about smart TVs?

    I hope the court will next extend this to all the junkware that comes pre-installed on smart TVs. There are several apps on my new Samsung smart TV that cannot be deleted.
  • We could Get Rid of it...
  • Skorea

    We should just make both countries of korea north and south part of either the US or Mexico....either that or spit korea into east and west rather than north and south
    • yeah

      i definately agree with you on this
  • Vince Testa

    is gay