South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission ordered the country’s three mobile operators — SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus – to pay millions of customers KRW267 billion ($230 million) in compensation for misleading them over their “unlimited” data, voice and SMS packages.
The Commission found that, between 2013 and 2015, services the three operators claimed were “unlimited” were in fact limited, the Korea Herald reported.
The operators, for example, throttled data speeds on unlimited LTE data plans when customers exceeded data caps they set. They also levied additional charges or restricted access to services when users of unlimited voice calls or SMS plans exceeded monthly quotas.
The three operators agreed on a compensation package that would give 7.4 million unlimited data customers 1GB-2GB LTE data coupons and 25 million unlimited voice subscribers 30-60 minutes of free calls. In addition, SK Telecom and KT will refund additional charges they passed on to subscribers when they exceeded limits on text messaging and voice calls.
Customers will be given until 26 April to accept the compensation, which will be paid out in June and July.
This is the first time companies involved in unfair business practices have been required to compensate customers directly, the JoongAng Daily reported. In the past, firms were fined by the government and affected customers had to sue the companies for compensation.
The Commission, which started the probe in October, was limited to fining each operator KRW500 million ($430,000), which many consider merely a slap on the wrist.