Nearly 1.2 trillion won in rate reduction for the vulnerable group of the 3 telecommunication companies

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Last year, the amount of telecommunications fee reduction for the vulnerable group of the three mobile communication companies approached 1.2 trillion won. Telecommunications companies such as SK Telecom, KT, and LG U+ emphasized the social contribution effect amid the Corona 19 crisis.

However, some pointed out that it is time for the information and communication technology (ICT) industry to think about the sharing of communication welfare resources as we enter an aging society. The participation of multinational companies such as Google and Netflix is ​​being discussed.

According to the sustainability management reports and internal estimates of the three telecommunication companies on the 25th, the amount of telecommunications fee reduction for the vulnerable group of the three companies has increased to close to 1.2 trillion won in 2022.

Nearly 1.2 trillion won in rate reduction for the vulnerable group of the 3 telecommunication companies

Rate reduction for the vulnerable group is for △livelihood medical benefit recipients and housing education benefit recipients △disabled persons and national meritorious persons △lower class △basic pension recipients, etc. In accordance with the Telecommunications Business Act, telecommunications companies charge mobile phone charges (some of the high-speed Internet charges for the disabled, etc.) included) is a discount system.

The amount of rate cuts for the vulnerable has increased by more than 10% from about 1.5 trillion won in 2021. It is estimated that last year, SK Telecom provided about 500 billion won, KT 400 billion won, and LG U+ 300 billion won in support to the vulnerable. It is analyzed that at least 5.5 trillion won has been supported over the past 8 years since 2015 when the Ministry of Science and ICT institutionalized the ‘transportation fee reduction service for welfare recipients’. In 2017, the government expanded the rate reduction for basic livelihood recipients and the next lowest class, and in 2018, “basic pension recipients” aged 65 or older were also added to the rate reduction target.

An official from a telecommunications company emphasized, “The telecommunications company is realizing digital welfare by alleviating the burden of communication expenses for the vulnerable and fulfilling its corporate social responsibility.”

However, apart from fulfilling social responsibility, some in the telecommunications industry are concerned about an increase in burden due to the entry of a super-aging era and increased economic uncertainty. The telecommunications company is currently offering basic old-age pension recipients over the age of 65 a 50% or 11,000 won discount on monthly rates. As the number of people aged 65 and older is expected to exceed 10 million in 2024 following the 9 million mark last year, the burden of rate cuts and cuts, which directly affect the performance of telecommunication companies, is expected to increase accordingly.

In this regard, discussions are spreading around the world that the communication welfare, which depends on the rate discounts of telecommunication companies, should also be shared by the huge participants in the ICT ecosystem. The United States is promoting a plan to make Google, Netflix, etc. contribute to the Universal Service Fund (USF) through the ‘Internet Fair Contribution Act’. The European Union (EU) is also pushing for a universal fund participation policy for Big Tech through the Connected Infrastructure Act.

Reporter Park Ji-seong [email protected]

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