Korean Local Number Portability Results

WLNP hit South Korea five weeks after the US, and on January 1, subscribers began to churn carriers while keeping their number. This is more controversial in Korea, where the prefix (like the area code) of mobile customers was not a geographic designator, but indicated the mobile carrier that issued the number. For example, SK Telecom customers’ numbers all began with 011. As such, the prefix became a brand for the carrier, which invested to market ‘Speed-011’ as a ‘premium prefix’ over many years. So far 82,917 Koreans have ported their number under LNP and ALL of them have been from SK Telecom. This is because the regulator is phasing in LNP based on market share, with the largest carrier’s customers able to churn first, followed by KTF, and finally LG Telecom. Without getting into the fairness of this regulation from the carrier perspective, I know I’d be irritated if I were a LG customer who wanted to port, and I were forced to wait a full extra year before I could do so.

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