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KT to lower bar for foreign residents' mobile phone subscriptions

All Headlines 09:00 May 30, 2010

By Lee Youkyung

SEOUL, May 30 (Yonhap) -- KT Corp., South Korea's second-largest mobile carrier, said Sunday it will ease mobile phone subscription and payment requirements for foreign nationals here and open multi-lingual mobile service centers in Seoul to cater to the growing number of non-Koreans.

KT, which is an exclusive operator of Apple Inc.'s iPhone in the local market, will introduce a new payment plan designed for foreigners and ease visa requirements for buying mobile phones on installments, the company said in a release.

It will also open six multi-lingual service stores in Seoul, including one at the Itaewon shopping district near the U.S. military base, staffed by employees fluent in English, Japanese and Chinese.

The number of foreign nationals residing in Korea reached 1.16 million as of February, with 910,000 of them already being mobile phone subscribers, according to data from the Korea Communications Commission, the country's telecommunications regulatory body.

Among foreign subscribers, 52 percent have pre-paid plans, and some even borrow identification from Koreans to receive mobile service in the country due to the strict guidelines governing purchases of mobile phones by foreigners.


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