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Consortium to bid for 4th mobile carrier in S. Korea

2013/10/08 10:39

SEOUL, Oct. 8 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean consortium is set to soon apply for a license to run the country's fourth mobile carrier, promising to offer cheap mobile rates, industry sources said Tuesday.

Currently, the country's mobile network market is dominated by three mobile operators -- SK Telecom Co, KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp.

According to the sources, Korea Mobile Internet (KMI), comprising mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) that rent networks from existing mobile operators, is planning to submit a bid for the license in the coming weeks to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.

Previously, the consortium had attempted to meet the requirements for a license, but the country's telecom watchdog turned down its bid, citing weak financial status and technical problem.

KMI is planning to provide mobile services at rates that are 50 percent to 65 percent cheaper than those for existing services offered by the three major players.

According to the sources, KMI has attracted up to 850 billion won (US$793 million) in capital and secured technologies needed to meet the requirements.

The Park Geun-hye administration is seeking to lower mobile rates by abolishing mobile phone subscription fees as part of efforts to ease financial burdens on households.

Starting last month, local mobile operators began to phase out sign-up fees for mobile phone services. The fee currently ranges from 24,000 won to 39,000 won. The ministry expects that the elimination of mobile subscription fees will cut the combined mobile charges by around 500 billion won annually.

sam@yna.co.kr

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