What’s Up In Korea? [Jun 3.]
7월 3, 2013

2

World’s fastest mobile network launched by South Korean telco, SKT

SK Telecom, Korea’s biggest mobile carrier, launched world’s first LTE-Advanced network called LTE-A, with speeds twice as fast as the current existing service. LTE-A is also 10 times faster than the 3G network. This service will be available in Seoul and 42 other major cities and provinces in Korea, as well as in 103 universities.

How is this in line with global trends? Well, it is expected that the world’s data traffic is expected to surge in the near future. Talk about a “competitive bid” by major telcos to be the first one to use the CA technology. And according to industry experts, SKT’s advantage will allow the Korean company to reach up to 300 Mbps connection speeds in 2015. And by 2016, bonding three different frequencies will be possible. By 2020, a 5G network providing 1,000 times faster connection speeds than the new LTE-A network will become available with the current rate of information and communications technology advancement.

However, some smartphone users voiced their discontent in that the consumers are victimized every time something new emerges in the IT technology industry.

Currently, Samsung’s Galaxy S4 is the only LTE-A compatible smartphone available in the market. LG Electronics and Pantech are expected to release their LTE-A models in August this year.

3

Kakao's Response To Rumors Regarding User Information

Recently, rumors had it that the PC version of KakaoTalk collects sensitive information from users without prior consent. According to the Korea Herald, Kakao said on Wednesday that its PC version does not gather MAC addresses, a type of hardware identification for computers.

“Kakao does not collect MAC addresses,” a Kakao official told The Korea Herald. “We allow users to authenticate as many as five different PCs and the method is based on LAN cards and other hardware sources.”

4

Korea may cut tax benefits for high income earners, big firms

Currently, the Korean government is apparently providing tax exemptions estimated at about 30 trillion KRW per year. Approximately 17 trillion KRW goes to small businesses, while 11.6 trillion KRW is for the wealthy and large conglomerates.

Now, as a part of its efforts to raise more tax revenue in order to meet growing fiscal demand from expanded welfare programs, Korea may consider scaling down tax benefits to large businesses. This is because the government can secure about 18 trillion KRW over the next 5 years by doing so. (18 trillion KRW is about $15.6 billion USD)

The move is aimed at meeting growing welfare demand without hiking actual tax rates. The government will collect public opinions before finalizing its overall tax code revision proposal by the end of August.

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