Wednesday, April 09, 2014

My son pays $22/month for symmetric, 100 Mbps Internet service ... in South Korea

My son lives in a relatively small city about 50 miles from Seoul.

He has a choice of three major Internet providers -- their monthly list prices for symmetric 100 Mbps Internet connectivity are as follows:

KT Corp: 31,680 ₩
SK Broadband: 33,000 ₩
LG Corp: 31,350 ₩
1,000 won is just under one dollar – about 96 cents, so, they are all around $30 per month.

Here is a copy of his latest bill from SK Broadband:


The top line is his charge for the month. (The second line shows the balance due from the previous month).

The charge is 35,000 ₩ (I guess there are some taxes), but he has a 13,000 ₩ discount because he signed a two year contract. With that contract he is paying about $22 per month for 100 Mbps connectivity.

How does that compare to your Internet service bill and speed?

How about customer service? Here is a quote from a comparative review of South Korean ISPs:
As mentioned earlier of fierce competition between a much-similar service providers, they will dispatch a repairman within a few hours of your call, even on WeekEnd!
How is it that Korea has achieved intense ISP competition? There is no simple answer, but the government has pursued a multifaceted policy encouraging investment and demand creation and providing common infrastructure, which is used by compteting ISPs (as in Singapore, Sweden or Latvia)

By contrast, we have little ISP competition in the U. S., leaving customers in a weak position -- dealing with non-competitve providers of a necessary service.

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Update 4/11/2014

My son saw this post and offered a couple of corrections. He sent me prices for the three major ISPs he can choose from, but says there are a number of smaller ones -- he said I understated the level of competition. He also said that the difference between his bill and the list price I quoted was not due to taxes, but the fact that the list price comparison he sent me was from a blog post and may not have been current. His list price is 35,000 ₩, not 33,000 ₩, but the general point remains true.