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Korean telcos: Beware the curse of 4G Internet

New Zealand’s telecommunications companies planning to bid for the 700 Mhz spectrum should listen to what their South Korean counterparts have to say about 4G mobile.

Korea’s top carriers warn that although the rollout of faster mobile networks has been good for consumers, they struggle to make money.

A report in Independent.ie says:

South Korea is often held up by European governments as the model they would most like to replicate, with superfast networks enabling millions of people to shop online, communicate and become more productive.

Yet the report goes on to say competition means SK Telecom Co Ltd and KT Corp have to fight for every customer. This means heavy marketing spends, handset subsidies and continually offering more for less.

The story says 30 per cent of the 50 million South Koreans now use fast networks and while Korean customers spend more – an extra US$13 each on average – the money doesn’t cover the huge investment poured into the 4G networks.