Q & A: Does cost drive how South Koreans choose cell phone providers?

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Photo by Gowoon Lee

Although he feels that his wireless calling plan is somewhat expensive, Jungwoo Lee is satisfied by the service provided.

SEOUL — According to the statistics compiled by Statistica, 41.1 million people were using mobile phones last year in South Korea. It is 80 percent of the total population of South Korea.

In order to meet the needs of the mobile phone users in South Korea, the big three mobile operators, SK Telecom, LG U+, and KT have offered plans of varying call time, texts, and data at different prices. Cellphone users can choose any plan they want depending on their budgets and needs.

Six Korean cellphone users with different ages and genders sat down to answer some questions about why they chose the particular wireless calling plans whether they are satisfied at the plan that they are using or not.

Cellphone User with Limited Texts and Call Time Plan

Photo by Gowoon Lee

Here is the chart that shows the information of Heeyeon Yang’s wireless calling plan.

Q: Since when did you start using the wireless calling plan?

Heeyeon Yang: I began using the plan since September, 2016.

Q: Why did you choose to use this particular plan?

Yang: As a 12th grade student, I am preparing for the college entrance exam which will be held in November of this year. Therefore, I did not need any expensive wireless calling plan. I thought that the wireless call plan with data service would disturb my study. That is why I chose this plan with limited texts and call time.

Q: Overall, are you satisfied by the service of your plan? Do you experience any inconvenience?

Yang: I would say that I am satisfied by the service of my plan as of now. For me, the amount of texts and call time that I can use every month is enough. When I need Internet, I can always search for wireless internet or I can wait until I go back home.

Q: Are you planning on using your current wireless calling plan in the future?

Yang: No, I am planning to change it into the plan that includes data service when I enter university.

Cellphone Users with Limited Texts, Call Time, and Data Plan

Photo by Gowoon Lee

Here is the data of four unlimited texts, call time, and data plan users’ payment plans.

Q: Since when did you start using the wireless calling plan?

Kyesook Hong: I began using the plan since this July. It is new.

Seungmin Lee: I began using mine since March, 2015. It has already been two years.

Q: Why did you choose to use this particular plan?

Hong: I chose to use this plan because it was the cheapest plan that I could choose based on the amount of texts, call time, and data that I normally use.

Soonye Hwang: My son chose this plan for me because he knew that I hardly send texts and I do not use data at all. As a senior citizen, all I do with my cellphone is to call my family members and answer their phone calls. As most plans now include data service in them, my son chose the cheapest plan among them.

Q: Overall, are you satisfied by the service of your plan? Do you experience any inconvenience?

Hong: I am not really satisfied by the plan that I am using. The amount of money that I have to pay every month is expensive and the amount of services is not enough for me. Most of the time, I end up using my data around the middle of the month. That is why I decided to pay an extra amount of 5,000 won ($4.5) every month for unlimited data. I hope the mobile telephone providers could either lower the expense for the plan or increase the amount of services.

Photo by Gowoon Lee

Although he feels that his wireless calling plan is somewhat expensive, Jungwoo Lee is still satisfied by the service of his plan.

Jungwoo Lee: I would say that I am half-satisfied by the service of my plan. I agree with Hong that the prices of wireless calling plans are expensive. The amount of money that I pay for my plan takes up to 10 percent of my total monthly expenditure, which is a lot for me. However, as I know that it is difficult for the mobile operators to adjust the price and the amount of services, I try my best to use texts, call time, and data effectively.

Q: Are you planning on using your current wireless calling plan in the future?

Photo by Gowoon Lee

Seungmin Lee, who has used his wireless calling plan for two years, expects to change it into the unlimited plan.

Seungmin Lee: No, I am planning to change it into the plan that provides unlimited texts, call time, and data when I become a university student next year.

Jungwoo Lee: Yes, I will, unless there is any sharp increase in the price or sharp decrease in the amount of services.

Cellphone User with Unlimited Texts, Call Time, and Data Plan

Photo by Gowoon Lee

Here is the chart that shows the information of Yelin Lee’s wireless calling plan.

Q: Since when did you start using the wireless calling plan?

Yelin Lee: I began using the plan from three years ago.

Q: Why did you choose to use this particular plan?

Yelin Lee: As a student preparing to become a cartoonist in the near future, I needed unlimited data to draw cartoons with my tablet PC and search for materials when I am outside. In addition, I wanted to communicate with my family members and friends freely at any time and at any place.

Q: Overall, are you satisfied by the service of your plan? Do you experience any inconvenience?

Photo by Gowoon Lee

As an unlimited texts, call time, and data user, Yelin Lee is satisfied by the service of her plan.

Yelin Lee: I am highly satisfied by the services that my plan provide. Besides the fact that my plan is more expensive compared to the price of the other unlimited plans, the Internet is fast and I feel comfortable on sending text messages, making phone calls, and using data even when I am outside. Although paying the expense for my plan every month is somewhat a burden to me, I think being comfortable takes precedence. I also hope that the mobile telephone providers could lower the price or give unlimited plan users like me more benefits.

Q: Are you planning on using your current wireless calling plan in the future?

Yelin Lee: Yes, unless there is a huge fluctuation on the price or the amount of services.

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