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Korea Telecom announces unlimited 5G data plans but limits tethering

With 5G, carriers might offer unlimited mobile data but limit their use via tethering.

  • Published: April 8, 2019 10:44 AM IST
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Korea Telecom and Verizon Wireless are racing to become the first to offer 5G wireless service on mobile devices. The Korea Telecom, which has announced three unlimited 5G plans, believes that unlimited data is “essential for 5G services”. The announcement contrasts moves by rivals, who are limiting 5G data pricing by not offering unlimited plans. In order to ensure that consumers upgrade to 5G, the Korea Telecom has priced its entry-level unlimited 5G plan lower than its unlimited 4G plan. While the plans offer unlimited data, they come with a catch that will shape mobile data consumption going forward.

With its unlimited 5G data plans, Korea Telecom is limiting the data available for tethering to other devices. In other words, Korea Telecom users will have unlimited data on mobile but won’t have unlimited tethering capability. The announcement comes on the heels of a move by Netflix to drop AirPlay support from its iOS app. The streaming giant cited technical limitations for dropping support but it could also have to do with business strategy of not letting users stream to other devices beyond mobile.

Korea Telecom’s 5G service will become available later this week and the country’s three major cellular operators are launching in a coordinated effort by the government. Korea Telecom, in particular, waited for the pricing details of other players, according to Korea Times. “We thought the unlimited plans would be essential for 5G services, as data use is expected to increase. The 5G Super Plan Basic is 9,000 won cheaper than the unlimited data plan for LTE services,” said KT’s 5G marketing chief, Park Hyun-jin.

Korea Telecom has announced a total of four plans with its 5G Super Plan Basic offering unlimited smartphone data and 5GB of tethering for 80,000 Korean Won (around Rs 4,900). There is 5G Super Plan Special with 50GB of tethering for 1,00,000 (around Rs 6,100) Korean Won while the 5G Super Plan Premium priced at 1,30,000 Korean Wons (around Rs 7,900) offering 100GB of tethering. There is also 5G Slim tariff which offers 8GB of 5G data for 55,000 Won (around Rs 3,350).

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The carrier plans to start offering 5G data within 91 South Korean cities and plans to update its 5G coverage map “every day” after launch on April 5. It claims to be capable of handling heavy data usage with 20Gbps 5G base stations and apart from unlimited data, the 5G Super Plans also offer unlimited international roaming data outside of South Korea at capped data speed.

  • Published Date: April 8, 2019 10:44 AM IST