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KT 2G subscribers launch class-action suit over network switch-off

1 Dec 2011

Just over a week after the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) finally approved a revised request for approval to switch off its 2G mobile services in July 2011, KT Corp looks set to face further troubles in its efforts to move all customers to third-generation services. According to the Korea Times, almost 1,000 of the cellco’s 2G subscribers have filed a class action lawsuit against KT, with a view to invalidating the November 2011 regulatory decision which ruled that KT could cut off its 2G services from 8 December 2011. Jang Baek, a law firm based in Southern Seoul confirmed that the legal challenge had been launched, with one of its lawyers, Choi Soo-jin, cited as saying: ‘We filed the class-action suit against the communications regulator Wednesday afternoon in a bid to invalidate the decision allowing KT to halt 2G mobile service on 8 December … We also asked the court to suspend KCC’s approval until it issues a verdict on the matter.’ The plaintiff’s case argues that the KCC has violated the Electro Communications Business Act, which, it is claimed, requires both landline and wireless communications service providers to notify users of service changes 60 days in advance.

As reported by CommsUpdate earlier this month, having rejected KT’s two earlier requests for permission to switch off 2G services in April and July 2011, under the terms of last month’s approval the KCC ordered KT to inform its remaining 2G customers – which now number around 159,000 – of the switch-off by at least two different methods. Meanwhile, as part of plans to assist 2G subscribers in upgrading to 3G, KT revealed it would provide a support package that includes discounts on payment plans, the deduction of subscription fees and cancellation charges as well as a choice of a free mobile device. Further, for those customers opting to continue a 2G service with another provider KT said it would offer a KRW73,000 (USD64) payment if the customer returns its handset or a KRW40,000 payment if they keep their devices; customers will have up to six months after the switch-off to apply for the payment.

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