reported in the Korea Joongang Daily and other media, the market for "affordable" mobile phone service provided by mobile virtual network operators, experienced continued healthy growth last year. According to the Korea Joongang Daily article, "More users are flocking to thrifty phone providers that rent network space from Korea’s largest mobile carriers as the government regulation on subsidies for smartphones has caused phone bills to surge amid a tough economy. According to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, the number of thrifty phone subscribers surpassed the 5 million mark, with its market share hitting a new high of 8.8 percent. The latest findings are based on records as of April 21." (click on the graphic to see a full size version)
"In 2011, the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) authorized smaller businesses to provide wireless communications services. Called mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), the smaller vendors offer telecom services that slash monthly phone bill by 20,683 won ($19.20) compared to regular service, the ministry said.
That translates into savings of more than 240,000 won per year, 57 percent cheaper than the service offered by Korea’s largest mobile carriers - SK Telecom, KT and LG U+."
While affordable phone services initially appealed to older people, a younger demographic is currently turning to these services. "The Science Ministry cited subscribers to the cheaper service offered by Korea Post to highlight the trend.
“Those in their 30s and 40s form 32.2 percent as of April 21,” the ministry said in a statement. “And the number has consistently increased.”"