SK Telecom requests sanction for alleged excessive handset subsidies

Reuters

SK Telecom Co. (Seoul, South Korea) requested on Wednesday that regulators sanction KT Corp (Seongnam, South Korea) and LG Uplus (Seoul, South Korea) for allegedly hurting competition with excessive handset purchase subsidies.

SK Telecom, which controls more than half of the country's mobile phone market, asked the Korea Communications Commission to probe marketing activities by KT Corp and LG Uplus, to which it lost a net 23,800 customers from the beginning of May to June 14.

"(We) need prompt and selective measures aimed at operators promoting excessive competition in a bid to achieve the government's goal of curtailing marketing costs and boosting investment," SK Telecom said in a statement.

The complaint comes after SK Telecom announced a mobile tariff savings plan worth $696 million annually earlier this month as it came under pressure from the government trying to tame high inflation.

It said KT was spending as much as $684 in subsidies per customer to lure new smartphone subscribers.

KT had no immediate comment and officials at LG Uplus were not available for comment.

(Reporting by Miyoung Kim)

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