updated 11:45 am EDT, Thu June 2, 2011
SK Telecom first to lower monthly rates
The South Korean government is reportedly placing pressure on local cellular carriers to lower their pricing structures. SK Telecom, the largest mobile provider in the country, is the first to respond to demands from regulators. The company will reduce its monthly charge by 1,000 won (~$0.92 USD) by September, bringing the average monthly fees down to approximately 11,000 won (~$10.21 USD), alongside other promotions and plan changes.
The pressure on telecom companies is part of the government's broader strategy to combat rising prices for consumer products. Regulators from the Korea Communications Committee suggest the changes in SK Telecom's plan pricing will have a combined annual benefit of approximately 750 billion won (~$696 million USD).
Cellphone services only represent a small percentage of consumer spending, however the government has also influenced companies in other sectors, such as fuel providers, to make similar cuts in prices. Aside from pressure on private companies, import tariffs for food goods have also been reduced. [via Wall Street Journal (sub. required)]