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S. Korea: Internet Calls Possible on Mobile Phones
Source: koreaherald.com
Source Date: Friday, August 20, 2010
Focus: E-Procurement
Country: Korea (Republic of)
Created: Aug 23, 2010

Consumers will now be able to place or receive cheap Internet calls with their cell phones wherever they are located, without using up their voice minutes, the Korea Communications Commission said Friday.

The state telecom and media regulator also said the owners of fixed mobile convergence phones will be identified by a single number for their mobiles, home and office phones.

“Until now, the FMC service users had to use two different numbers -- starting with 010 for mobiles and 070 for fixed-line phones using the Internet -- which caused great inconvenience,” a KCC official said. “In particular, the service users could not take calls using the Internet phone when they were outside of the Wi-Fi zone. The country’s convergence services are expected to spread wider by taking this step.”

As of now, the percentage of FMC service users take up about 17 percent of those who use Internet calls and this group reduces the telecommunications costs up to 22,000 won ($18.66) per year, according to the KCC.

The FMC service increases voice call continuity, meaning that service users could be reached with a single phone number disregarding their location.

As an exemplary case, the user could start the day by placing a call at a Wi-Fi-equipped café while getting a cup of the morning brew, then head outside where they would be connected back to the cellular system. The user can then once more get connected to the Wi-Fi inside his or her office.

What should be noted is that the Internet calls may even be free of charge when consumers have an Internet connection through wireless networks.

The calls made with FMC phones are reportedly 28 percent cheaper compared to calls made through regular mobiles when Internet connection is not available.

KT currently services the highest figure of 11 mobile devices which would make use of the FMC service, while its rivals SK Telecom and LG Uplus have eight each.

The telecoms are projected to further release 10 more FMC devices in the latter half of this year.
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