South Korean operator SK Telecom will introduce a 5G rate system with payment plans offered in increments of KRW 10,000 (approximately USD $7.00). The new 5G data plan subdivided according to customer usage patterns will come in five options: three 5G general plans for KRW 40,000 (US $30.60), KRW 50,000 (US $38.25) and KRW 90,000 (US $68.84), respectively, and two online-only benefit plans. Including the new plans, SK Telecom will offer a total of 16 5G rate plans.
SK Telecom’s new 5G tariff plan launch is in response to a recent meeting held by South Korea’s Science and ICT Minister with executives of the country’s major mobile operators to request the introduction of a new mid-tier 5G mobile data product category. The request came amid recent calls that currently available two tier 5G data plans were unable to support the current monthly 5G average usage range of 23 to 27 GB.
The South Korean government made 5G a priority as early as 2017, instituting policies and investing in public sector projects that have aided in the development and rollout of the country’s commercial 5G networks. In 2019, South Korea was the first country to launch a commercial 5G network, and within two years, 5G accounted for 20% of the country’s total mobile subscriptions.
The abundance of SK Telecom’s new 5G plans is notable, if not understood, given the government’s push to develop and adopt 5G nationwide, and their continued involvement in the process. Of particular interest here also is the average monthly 5G data usage of South Korean users. 23-27GB per month is extraordinarily high, especially compared with that of other developed nations.