Authorities in South Korea revealed plans to abolish a law limiting handset subsidies operators and retailers can offer, in an attempt to help consumers deal with increasing smartphone prices.

In a statement, the country’s Office for Government Policy Coordination indicated the removal of the Terminal Distribution Act that came into force in 2014 would be expected to lower prices for consumers and promote market competition.

Current rules place strict limits on subsidies and ban those only offered to some customers in an attempt to ensure the same discounts were available to everyone.

However, the authority added there had been criticism this had led to limited opportunities to buy devices at low prices caused by a decline in active competition.

It argued a current focus on premium models and continued smartphone price rises mean “it is time to make efforts to lower the burden of people’s device purchase costs”.

The planned abolition of the act is set to be discussed in the country’s national assembly alongside plans to revise a related law.

Authorities also plan to consult industry experts and consumers about the move.

The proposal is the country’s latest attempt to cut the cost of communications services, having already pushed operators for lower-priced 5G tariff options.