Tuesday, August 07, 2007

[The Chosun Ilbo, August 6 2007] Flip Side of the 'Republic of Cell Phones'

"Are there any cell phones that don't connect to the Internet?"

Many parents these days are replacing their children's cell phones with handsets that cannot connect to the Internet. Such was the case with a housewife I met at a cell phone store over the weekend. "I got a bill for W130,000 (US$1=W923) for my kid's cell phone. The monthly charge was over W50,000 even when we subscribed to a discount package for juveniles. Later I found out why. My kid was mostly playing games on the wireless Internet, a function of the newest phones."

Playing Internet games on a cell phone costs a lot more than just making calls and sending text messages, because you have to pay for the wireless Internet service and to download the games. According to a consumer group survey, children and teenagers in Seoul on average pay W38,414 a month in cell phone fees. That's even more than adults, who pay W38,226. Even though kids get juvenile discounts, their volume of wireless Internet use means they don't save much from the discounts.

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