Korean carriers fined $4.78 million for “discriminative subsidies”
South Korea’s war on subsidies continues. Last December we told you about a round of punishing actions taken by the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) against the three carriers over there, including big fines and a ban on taking on new customers for certain periods of time. The reason for this severe punishment was the carriers’ phone subsidizing policies.
And now those same carriers have been fined again. The previous measures were decided for after a probe in September 2012. This time around, we’re talking about the December 25 – January 7 period, in which all of Korea’s carriers were found to have “infringed on consumer rights by doling out discriminative subsidies”, according to Yonhap.
The charges aren’t detailed any more than that, but SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus will have to pay a combined fine of 5.3 billion won, which amounts to $4.78 million at the current exchange rate.
The carriers engaged in offering ‘excessive subsidies’ to smartphone users, but how the KCC defines ‘excessive’ is anyone’s guess at this point. Still, South Korea remains the only country in the world (that we’ve heard of, at least) to actively punish the practice of subsidizing mobile devices for consumers.