There is a difference between budget phones and mobile carriers ‘pros and cons’ over ‘mandatory wholesale supply system’ for affordable phones

“Three-year sunset system abolished … Need to provide permanent obligation”
SKT “We must provide wholesale for 12 years… and abolish the obligation”

湲 蹂肄

[아시아경제 차민영 기자] Regarding the three-year limited-time wholesale sunset system, which is a long-awaited long-awaited by the MVNO industry, there are voices in the budget phone industry that the sunset system itself should be abolished. On the other hand, SK Telecom, the No. 1 mobile operator in Korea, which is a wholesale provider, said, “As the system has been maintained for 12 years, self-sufficiency of affordable phones has increased.”

Hwang Seong-wook, full-time vice president of the Korea Affordable Telecommunication Operators Association, held a briefing near Gwanghwamun in Seoul on the 27th and pointed out ‘problems and ways to improve the budget phone-related system’. It can also grow,” he said.

Differing views on the three-year one-hour sunset system

The association points out the problem of the wholesale offer sunset system, which has been extended through amendments to the law every three years. Currently, the only obligatory wholesale provider is SK Telecom, the No. KT and LG U+ also provide networks, but they are not mandatory operators. The law has been extended three times since 2013, and the deadline has expired until September 22 this year.

When the duty to provide wholesale is set at the expiration of the time limit, the Minister’s authority to designate a wholesale provider, the Minister’s authority to cancel the designation as a wholesale provider, and the Minister’s authority to announce various procedures and considerations for the calculation of the price to be followed by the duty to provide wholesale will take effect. will lose

Hoehoe argues that a permanent wholesale supply is needed instead of the sunset system. Vice Chairman Hwang said, “If the wholesale provider system disappears, it will be difficult for the budget phone business to exist in the market.”

SKT “Exceeded 10 million subscribers for thrifty phone”

On the other hand, SK Telecom, an obligatory wholesale provider, opposes the abolition of the sunset system and the enactment of a mandatory wholesale provision. An SK Telecom official said, “As the wholesale provision system has been maintained for the past 12 years, the number of discount phone subscribers has surpassed 10 million, occupying a 15% share of the mobile phone market. The phone’s self-reliance has increased.”

He added, “The low-cost phone market is already working well regardless of the wholesale supply obligation system, with more than 70% of the low-cost phone subscribers using KT and LG U+ networks, which are not mandatory operators.” It is judged that it is necessary to carefully review the extension of the wholesale supply obligation and the prior price regulation again.”

KT and LG U+ are actively participating in the budget phone market to attract lines. The most active one is LG U+. In June, the company newly expanded the brand of ‘U + Affordable Phone Partners’ to ‘+ Alpha’ and is increasing the win-win program for small and medium sized business operators. It has provided various support such as self-opening service, joint marketing, affiliate card discount, affiliate discount coupon, and shared SIM. KT opened ‘My Budget Phone’, an integrated CS channel for affordable phones, for the first time among the three mobile telecommunication companies. On the other hand, SK Telecom has been consistent with a passive attitude in the budget phone market, saying, “I will follow the decision to withdraw” in relation to the discussion on the regulation of the 50% market share of the budget phone market, which is a subsidiary of the three mobile carriers.


Parliamentary Election Bill… government is passive

In the National Assembly, bills have been proposed to increase the number of compulsory providers or to extend the period of mandatory provision to revitalize thrifty phones. In December 2020, Rep. Kim Young-sik, a member of the National Assembly’s Science, Technology, Information and Broadcasting and Communications Committee, representatively proposed the ‘Revision of the Telecommunication Business Act’ to promote affordable phones. The bill includes the abolition of the sunset system for the mandatory provision of wholesale prices and the expansion of the mandatory service providers to three mobile carriers. Park Wan-ju, a member of the National Defense Department, also called for system improvement on the 28th of this month, saying, “Even though the provision of wholesale supply of affordable phones has been extended three times over 12 years, the Ministry of Science and ICT has not even reached a conclusion about the direction of the system.” On the 29th, Rep. Kim Young-joo of the Democratic Party of Korea proposed an amendment to the Telecommunication Business Act, stating that it would delete the sunset deadline for the compulsory provision of affordable phones.

Although the Ministry of Science, Technology and Information and Communication, the responsible ministry, agrees with the purpose of the abolition of the sunset system, it is consistent with a passive attitude toward improving the current system, such as preparing a government bill. Vice Chairman Hwang said, “The government agrees that improvements are needed in relation to the wholesale price and sunset system, but I understand that it agrees to the amendment as it is stipulated by law. Who can invest in?” he appealed.


By Cha Min-young, staff reporter [email protected]


Source: 아시아경제신문 실시간 속보 by www.asiae.co.kr.

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