Wednesday, March 26, 2008

South Korea - locked in customers

Mobile Providers to Lift Lock-In on SIM Cards

The nation's two largest telecom providers SK Telecom and KTF will lift the "lock-in" function on SIM cards in handsets for third-generation mobile service subscribers. Subscribers to 3G services like SK's T Live and KTF's SHOW will no longer have to go through an authentication and opening process all over again when they want to change mobile phones from March 27 and will be able to start using a new handset immediately if they take the SIM card out of the old handset and put it in a new one.

Customers also can choose which handset they want to use according to their outfit and occasion. If the batteries are exhausted, they can borrow their friend's cell phone and put their SIM card in the borrowed phone to use it for a short while. The sharing of SIM cards, however, will be limited in the early stage to handsets linked to the same service provider. Those who want to share their card among phones linked to different carriers will have to wait until the second half of this year.

Subscribers to LG Telecom will not benefit from the lift of the lock-in function, since their service provider uses American code division multiple access method, unlike SK and KTF, which employ the European method.

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