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FTC concludes KT exaggerated internet speeds

Sept 30,2019
KT exaggerated internet speeds, a regulator has determined.

According to the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) Sunday, the country’s second-largest carrier made false claims in advertising its GiGA LTE product.

GiGA LTE is a combination of 3CA LTE-A and GiGA WiFi technologies, and speeds of up to 1.17 gigabits per second were promised.

At those speeds, a customer would be able to download a regular 350-megabyte television show in less than three seconds.

The regulator said KT had advertised the speeds as if they were available nationwide on its official blog and websites as well as on sponsored blogs from June 2015 to November 2018. The speeds were only possible in a few locations - which is just 3.5 percent of the number of KT’s base stations.

KT’s advertisements of GiGA LTE on its blogs featured a map of its LTE base stations nationwide, which could have misled consumers as very few could offer the product’s maximum speeds.

The FTC said that advertising of this kind falls under fair trade laws, and it ordered the carrier to cease making such claims. It added that it expects the measure to improve competition between telecommunications providers.

While the latest FTC related to KT focuses on its LTE product, competition between local carriers has since moved onto faster 5G network products.

The regulator’s action comes after it fined the carrier 5.7 billion won ($4.7 million) in April for colluding to win government contracts.

The FTC had found that KT, SK Broadband, LG U+ and Sejong Telecom rigged results on 12 bids for network installations for government agencies from April 2015 to June 2017. It also referred KT to the prosecutors.

BY CHAE YUN-HWAN [chae.yunhwan@joongang.co.kr]