For mobile users on a budget, South Korean telecom companies are expected launch affordable rates to 5G users on a budget.
Ahead of the country's launch of the super-fast mobile network in early April, SK Telecom on Monday submitted a monthly payment plan to the science ministry.
The network operator reportedly offered an extra low-budget plan ranging between 44 to 50 U.S. dollars a month.
This comes after the company's initial price list was rejected by the ministry, as it only proposed monthly plans that start at around 66 U.S. dollars, around thirty to fourty percent higher than average rates for LTE.
Telecom companies say rising costs for 5G infrastructure, which they're expanding across the country, give them no choice but to raise prices for consumers.
However, consumer groups have strongly protested the move.
"Working class families already struggle with increasing living costs, and there are many countries that provide mobile plans for around twenty to thirty U.S. dollars a month. The 5G price range is too expensive and limits consumer choice."
The low-cost option proposed by SK perhaps offers a middle ground.
However, with limited data usage, expected to be under ten gigabytes, experts say the package may not be such a bargain.
"Offering the lower budget plan could be a strategy to induce customers to use more expensive plans, due to the limited amount of data. It wouldn't be enough to support 5G usage, which requires about three to four times the amount of data."
Still, the proposed monthly plans are deemed to be more affordable than U.S. telecom firm Verizon's price list, which starts from 85 dollars a month.
Verizon's most expensive plan, at 105 dollars, offers a maximum of 75 gigabytes, far less than SK Telecom's 66 dollar plan which would provide double that amount.
Industry experts say South Korea's three main network operators are likely to confirm their price lists within the week, before Samsung Electronics launches its 5G handset next Friday, starting the era of commercial 5G in Korea.
Oh Soo-young, Arirang News.