KakaoTalk’s free calls put fear in mobile providers

KakaoTalk’s free calls put fear in mobile providers

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KakaoTalk’s free calls put fear in mobile providers

KakaoTalk's trial launch Monday of a free phone call service generated heated attention from Korea's smartphone users yesterday, while mobile carriers howled in protest, knowing their profits could erode and wash away.The service is called Voice Talk, and the top search phrase on the nation's largest portal site Naver was "KakaoTalk free phone call". Web communities were flooded with questions and answers about how current Kakao users could upgrade their apps to get it.Voice Talk works on both the Android and iOS operating systems, and it works through 3G phone service and over Wi-Fi. SK Telecom and KT, the two largest mobile service operators, complained that Voice Talk is "free riding" their Internet networks using the mobile voice over Internet Protocol (mVoIP). They urged the Korea Communications Commission to restrict the service, and warned that its use could boomerang on subscribers by forcing the providers to raise phone bills. Charges for phone calls are the main source of revenues for mobile phone service operators."The spread of mVoIP will harm industry progress, cause convenience to users and harm the national interest", said SK Telecom in a release. "It will drag down mobile service operators' profitability, which will in the long run result in a deterioration of service quality from monthly charge hikes and reduced investment in infrastructure".The telecommunication arm of SK Group proposed that the government come up with countermeasures as soon as possible. "If immediate government-level measures can't be devised, market-level measures should be enforced", it said. As an example of a market-level measure, the company cited a hike in the base rate for using providers' services. Free call services are not new. Skype has been around since the dawn of smartphones, and Daum Communication's MyPeople application launched an mVoIP service in February 2011.But KakaoTalk is much more of a threat. Its instant message service has 35 million domestic users, almost 70 percent of the Korean populace.In fact, mobile service providers are already limiting mVoIP. KT, for example, allows only 3G subscribers paying 54,000 won ($46) or more in basic monthly fees to use mVoIP. It restricts the data usage for free calls to 750 megabytes per month. Given that one megabyte corresponds to one minute of a phone call on a 3G network, users could make more than 12 hours of free phone calls monthly. The more expensive monthly fees become, the more mVoIP hours allowed. Both KT and SK Telecom have engineered their networks to prevent free Internet phone calls for subscribers paying less than the designated amount monthly and restrict the amount for others. LG U+, a third-tier player, bans mVoIP entirely.The carriers say their billing systems will have to be revised because they didn't anticipate the strong emergence of mVoIP. The KCC is in an odd position, having to consider both consumers and the mobile carriers. "We are discussing a variety of measures concerning Kakao's free calls", said an official with the KCC's Competition Policy Department. "But we are not in a situation to instantly reach a conclusion and take action".Meanwhile, Lee Sir-goo, CEO of Kakao, told the JoongAng Ilbo yesterday that mobile carriers are "making an excuse for elevating phone charges with KakaoTalk's free calls. Voice Talk cannot replace mobile voice calls. It's disconnected frequently while the user moves. It's not an alternative but a complementary method for making mobile calls."By Seo Ji-eun

Buan becomes more accessible

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Buan becomes more accessible

Visitors to Buan County can enjoy the water and the mountains at the same time. Masil Trail in the county spans the coastline and heads into the hills where visitors can enjoy a view of the West Sea. Provided by Buan County . ... Read more

Kim So Hyun has disclosed her amazing hidden personality

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Kim So Hyun   has   disclosed  her   amazing  hidden personality

Actress Kim So Hyun recently showed her humble nature despite receiving impressive grades in school.

On the broadcast of KBS’ “Entertainment Weekly” that aired on April 25, the cast members of the upcoming Monday-Tuesday drama “Who Are You – School 2015,” including BTOB’s Yook Sungjae, model-actor Nam Joo Hyuk, actor Lee Pil Mo, and Kim So Hyun, appeared on the entertainment news program for an interview. . ... Read more

EXID wins #1 on SBS" "Inkigayo" + performances by Park Bo Ram, UNIQ, Oh My Girl & more

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EXID wins #1 on SBS" "Inkigayo" + performances by Park Bo Ram, UNIQ, Oh My Girl & more

SBS” “Inkigayo” aired its latest episode with energetic and fun performances from your favorite idols. Joining us were MCs Kim Yoo Jung and Hong Jong Hyun plus guest MC Park Bo Ram. . ... Read more

Lets take a look at two beautiful members of 2NE1 Park and Cheon Dung Channel when they tried to become the Punk Rockstars

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Lets  take  a   look   at two   beautiful members of   2NE1  Park and Cheon Dung Channel  when  they  tried   to  become  the  Punk Rockstars

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Sweet celebrity siblings 2NE1′s Sandara Park and Cheon Dung are taking a ride on the wild side.

The star siblings recently posed for a spread in W Korea, shedding their sweet and playful image for a punk rock-inspired pictorial. . ... Read more

Park Bo Gum has confirmed to take part in the Red Velvet’s Irene in the role of “Music Bank” presenter

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Park Bo Gum  has  confirmed  to take  part in the   Red Velvet’s Irene   in the  role  of  “Music Bank” presenter

KBS has confirmed that actor Park Bo Gum will be MCing alongside Red Velvet‘s Irene for “Music Bank.” The actor’s star is rising and will be able to show growth through his new role as an MC. . ... Read more