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​South Korea begins data plan discount for senior citizens

South Korea has begun its mobile data plan discount program for senior citizens aged 65 or above.

The Ministry of Science and ICT and Ministry of Health and Welfare will offer the discount to up to 1.74 million citizens — 70 percent of those aged 65 or above — who are receiving basic pensions.

Single households with less than 1.31 million won in income or couples with less than 2.096 million won are currently eligible for basic pensions in Korea.

Those with data plans costing over 22,000 won ($19.50) per month will get an 11,000 won discount ($9.75), which is the cap.

Those will cheaper data plans will get a 50 percent discount.

The government expects seniors to save a combined 189.8 billion won ($168 million) from the program annually.

Eligible citizens can visit county offices and benefit from the discounts as soon as they apply for basic pensions, or apply for the discounts at telcos’ stores and online sites.

South Korea offered a similar discount in December last year for families below the poverty line.

Due to concerns over telcos’ profits, the government is negotiating with them to lower the spectrum fee.

The country completed auctions for 5G spectrum in June and is gearing up for the rollout of the next-generation network next year.

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