At long last, writes Bloter, Korea’s big mobile carriers have allowed internet call services on their smartphones. From today (the 6th), KT is offering unlimited use of internet calls on its “i-value” and “i-premium” plans.
But Bloter isn’t impressed. Yes, free internet phone calls are a good thing, but SKT’s All-in-One 55 and KT’s “i-value” require customers to pay a standard fee for 300 minutes of call-time a month, so suddenly offering free internet calls isn’t really such a massive act of generosity. Perhaps the biggest benefit (though it’s unstated in the article) will be cheaper or free international calls.
Worse, Bloter says, is that this move comes as actual calling becomes an ever-less important part of mobile phone functions. Though the boom in SNS use on smartphones is well documented, the article only supports its point with this graphic on the growth in text messaging across all age groups (presumably in Korea).
We are, the article says, undergoing a big change in mobile communications. Whereas previously mobile phones were used primarily for talking, today, and especially among the young, they are just as much for messaging, playing games and accessing Facebook or Twitter.
The article signs off with this clarion call to Korea’s mobile phone carriers:
While it’s a happy event that carriers are now allowing internet calls on mobile phones, we really hope they don’t forget that they need a new communication strategy that doesn’t place central importance on voice calls. Is it too forward of us to warn them that they should be emphasizing Facebook and Twitter over Skype?