It Takes A Suicide To Make Korean Telcos Realize Mobile Data Fees Are Too High?

from the seems-a-bit-extreme dept

We've heard plenty of stories over the years about the absolutely ridiculous bills people have received for mobile data, when they didn't realize just how much their mobile operators charge. You would think that the stories of these bills might make the operators recognize that perhaps something was wrong with their billing rates where someone could receive a bill for thousands of dollars a month for simply playing games or listening to streaming music or something along those lines. Over in South Korea, apparently, it took a suicide for the mobile operators to recognize that this was a problem. A teenager who was playing mobile games on his phone ended up killing himself after getting a $3,800 bill -- and following that all the mobile operators have decided that maybe they should offer a type of a cap, over which fees won't accumulate. How high is the cap? They all seem to be around $30.


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  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2006 @ 1:42am

    with all the new "broadband phone/wireless"

    systems phone companies are bragging about, I would think data rates would go down - but then again I'm not the CEO of a major telco with pockets lined with gold, so I'm not factoring my own greed into the equation...

     

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  2.  
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    Jackie Danicki, Feb 28th, 2006 @ 2:33am

    No Subject Given

    I see nothing to cheer about here. One person makes a terrible, regrettable decision, and the result is a dumbed-down, "We're all toddlers now" approach to commerce. I'm glad this is self-imposed rather than any regulation, but it's still not called for. Howsabout clearly communicating costs, sending notifications when spending is getting high, and anything but treating customers like idiots?

     

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  3.  
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    Matthew, Feb 28th, 2006 @ 3:19am

    Re: No Subject Given

    In my experience, the average teen IS an idiot when it comes to money. There is little to no concept of future stakes or budgeting. And while they are offering plans that will cap certain feature's costs they are not making you buy them. The nature of marketing is giving people what they want for as high a price as possible. The price was too high so they're just taking it down a notch.

     

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    Shiv, Feb 28th, 2006 @ 3:49am

    Re: No Subject Given

    Don't know about other countries but in India, telecom companies already doing this. If you are exceeding certain limits then there will restriction on your calls and you'll get calls from their customer care that you are exceeding limits. Till now I used to think that these guys were unnecessarily doing this but I see the point now.

     

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  5.  
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    randomboy, Feb 28th, 2006 @ 3:54am

    Re: with all the new

    It's all a matter of competition, there's nothing wrong with greed (greedisgood :) ). It's the greed of the telco CEOs that could drive them to lower prices as well, depending on where the point of maximum profit is.

     

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  6.  
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    Sean, Feb 28th, 2006 @ 3:56am

    Re: No Subject Given

    I think from $4,000 to $30 is more than a notch.
    The word "cap" is misleading, as it implies the phone service will be shut off after the cap is reached. From reading the article it sounds as though the telcos are putting in a "flat rate" for the services, which is a whole different world from a cap.
    The sad thing here is the kid killed himself over what the telcos finally decided was only worth $30.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2006 @ 4:01am

    No Subject Given

    is this the first report that someone has killed themselves over an payable recreational device usage - or just the most recent one?

    i believe that casinos should go back to having $0.50 tables - all of this "$20 minimum" is just driving me to do something really bad to myself -- but I guess if I don't do it, someone else will collect... even if that means "mafia-style".

    whatever happened to the good'ol days of committing suicide because of a boyfriend/girlfriend? Next you will read about people doing it just because they cannot pay their bills. go figure!$#@

     

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  8.  
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    Crack Peddler, Feb 28th, 2006 @ 4:46am

    Take a cue from MY business!

    Man, when MY customers find themselves not able to afford MY products, they don't commit suicide! They percevere. They get second jobs, as Prostitutes, theives, carjackers.

    Now THERE is the american spirit!

     

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    Professor HighBrow, Feb 28th, 2006 @ 8:27am

    Cold, Man.... Cold

    While they are offering plans that will cap certain feature's costs they are not making you buy them.

    True, but they are misleading you into buying them. Besides, you damn fool, the point of the article is the fact that a teen committed suicide over it!

    That's no joke, and it's tragic. How can you shift the blame to the kid? Yeah, thats nothing to kill yourself over and it's not the companies fault, but how about reading the actual focus of the article before rushing to judgement?

     

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  10.  
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    Griffon, Feb 28th, 2006 @ 10:26am

    No Subject Given

    God only knows we need something like that here, Mobile data fee's are insulting and insane... How many different ways do operators really think they should get to charge you for the same traffic, it's ALL just data at this point no matter what you are doing with the phone.

     

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  11.  
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    Sea Man, Feb 28th, 2006 @ 11:29am

    No Subject Given

    He didn't commit suicide because his bill was too high. He commited suicide because he was suicidal. Anything could have pushed him over the edge. It is rediculous to blame his bill.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2006 @ 11:34am

    Re: No Subject Given

    You know 3800 dollars can make or break some family's especially in Korea. That might have been a bill you could have never possibly been able to pay in the next ten years. Not to mention the late fees that may have accumilated with the 3800 dollars that he obvious was unable to pay.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2006 @ 12:23pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    oh trust me... he paid.

    that is, he paid the ultimate price.

     

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  14.  
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    discojohnson, Feb 28th, 2006 @ 1:23pm

    not the main focus, but..

    i understand how the main focus is that someone took their life over a high phone bill, but i'd like to ask where the mobile providers think that people will actually pay those astronomical bills? sounds like they're losing money if someone has to take their life to escape a bill. then again, maybe the bill is passed on down the family? and i think the poster making the comment about the suicide happened because the kid was suicidal, and the bill was just another push to the limit. had the teen's support system been better it could have also saved their life (parents, friends).

     

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