Despite all three of South Korea’s mobile network operators having recently been able to resume accepting new subscribers, the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) is said to be considering imposing another business suspension on both SK Telecom (SKT) and LG Uplus. According to the JoongAng Daily, with the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) having announced in March 2014 that each of the nation’s cellcos – including KT Corp – would be barred from signing up new subscribers for 45 days, the KCC is now said to be planning its own suspension measure.
The KCC had initially voted on plans to issue a sign-up ban back in March 2014, though it held off on implementing it due to the MSIP’s sanctioning of all three mobile operators. With the KCC now set to hold a meeting to iron out the details regarding the timing of the bans, SKT will reportedly be barred from accepting new customers for a seven day period, while LG Uplus faces a 14 day moratorium; KT will apparently escape the business suspension. In addition to the sign-up ban, the KCC also plans to fine each of the nation’s three cellcos KRW30.4 billion (USD29.7 million). It has been suggested, meanwhile, that the block on new subscribers will take effect between mid- to late-June, after local elections in the earlier part of that month.
Despite opposition from both smartphone retailers and manufacturers, which have argued that subsidies actually hurt small vendors, the KCC is determined to enforce its ban, with an unnamed spokesperson cited as saying: ‘We decided to take the measure in March. It could cause problems if we don’t enforce the administrative measures that we have already concluded.’