Get a Free Galaxy S24: Exploring Korea’s New Subsidy Schemes

What you should know


  • Changes to the Mobile Device Distribution Improvement Act in South Korea aim to lower household communication costs by allowing additional support of up to 500,000 KRW (~$380) for changing mobile carriers.
  • The cap on “regular” subsidies for purchasing devices through national carriers has been lifted, previously set at 240,000 KRW (~$180), enabling carriers to offer subsidies between 55,000 KRW ($42) and 500,000 KRW for a new Galaxy S24.
  • Transition support funds have been introduced, allowing carriers to cover up to 500,000 KRW in costs related to cancellation fees, SIM card issuance, and loss of long-term subscription benefits when switching plans.
  • With the combination of “regular” and “transition” subsidies, plus additional retailer offers, purchasing a Galaxy S24 could become practically ‘free’, reducing the financial burden on consumers and potentially encouraging market competition.


Full Story

Oh, have you heard? There’s this piece in the Korean Ajunews that’s got everyone talking. The headline’s a bit of a mouthful: “Starting tomorrow, switching to Galaxy S24 practically makes it ‘free’.” Now, if you squint at the details, it seems they’re saying this magic trick is thanks to tweaks in the Mobile Device Distribution Improvement Act. The goal? To cut down on those pesky household communication costs.

So, here’s the scoop. Folks in South Korea can now switch mobile carriers—yeah, that whole number portability jazz—and might just snag an extra 500,000 KRW (that’s South Korean won, by the way; translates to roughly $380) in subsidies. This is on top of the usual help they get. And get this: there used to be a cap on these subsidies. Not anymore. They’ve axed that limit.

Before all this, the government had a tight grip, capping carrier subsidies at a measly 240,000 KRW (about $180). But now? Mobile carriers are practically throwing money at users, with subsidies ranging from 55,000 KRW ($42) to a whopping 500,000 KRW for snagging a new Galaxy S24 and a mobile plan.

The real game-changer here is the transition support funds. Carriers are now dishing out up to 500,000 KRW to cover all sorts of costs—cancellation fees, the price for a new SIM card, you name it. This is for those bold enough to jump ship to a rival plan.

Put it all together, and what do you get? If someone ports their number and grabs a Galaxy S24, they’re looking at support that can climb up to 1.15 million KRW. That’s combining the “regular” and “transition” subsidies. And here’s a kicker: some mobile retailers are piling on, offering even juicier subsidies, 15% more from the carrier’s stash. This pushes the total support to—you guessed it—1.15 million KRW.

Now, with the base model of the Galaxy S24 priced at 1.155 million KRW, it’s like the phone’s on the house. Kim Hong-il, the big boss at the Korea Communications Commission, says this whole shindig is to ease the financial load on consumers and spice up the market competition.

But, will this really shake things up and bring about a subsidy showdown among carriers? That’s the million-won question. Some folks are skeptical, hinting that carriers might not be too keen on splurging on subsidies. Ah, the drama of it all. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Derrick Flynn
Derrick Flynn
With over four years of experience in tech journalism, Derrick has honed his skills and knowledge to become a vital part of the PhonesInsights team. His intuitive reviews and insightful commentary on the latest smartphones and wearable technology consistently provide our readers with valuable information.


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