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SKT Wi-Fi zone would be exclusive

May 20, 2011 - 19:46 By Cho Ji-hyun
SK Telecom plans to shut down its free wireless Internet services to subscribers of other mobile carriers starting from July, stoking discontent among smartphone users.

The country’s largest mobile carrier said Thursday it would change its Wi-Fi operation policy and only open the service to subscribers of SKT beginning on July 1.

“The measure has been drafted for our own customers to enjoy the service in a more convenient and stable manner,” said an SKT official. “With the start of a smart era initiated by smartphones, the amount of data traffic is sharply increasing. So, we have changed our policy because offering seamless wireless Internet connection is becoming a quality that decides the competitiveness of a telecom.”

Currently, KT runs 57,000 Wi-Fi zones across the nation, followed by SKT and LG Uplus which have established 38,000 and 10,000 zones, respectively.

People have been able to access the service for free by logging into the website of T Wi-Fi zone ― inserting their names and personal identification numbers.

But some users vented their displeasure with the policy change. “What is frustrating is to discover that SKT is taking back what they had been agressively advertising up to now,” said an office worker who just wished to be identified by his surname Kang. “If this was to happen, the company shouldn’t have started it in the first place, getting people’s hopes and expectations up.”

SKT has for months vowed to open the service up for everyone, claiming that KT and LG Uplus only provide the service to their subscribers.

By Cho Ji-hyun (