Finding the biggest domestic mobile manufacturers and operators guilty of colluding to fix prices and defraud consumers, South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has slapped Samsung, LG and the country’s operators with a combined fine of 45.3 billion won (US$40.1 million), reports Yonhap News.
The companies involved were found to be working together to raise the prices of mobile devices before advertising that they were offering improved deals. This meant that consumers were being duped into believing they were getting a great deal for a phone, when in reality it was no better than the original.
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The fine was handed to device makers Samsung, LG and Pantech, as well as mobile carriers SK Telecom, KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp. Korea’s biggest operator received the biggest fine of 20.2 billion won ($17.9 million), Samsung was hit with a 14.2 billion won ($12.6 million) penalty, and the country’s second largest carrier KT with 5.1 billion won ($4.5 million).
In total, 209 handsets were marked-up by Samsung, LG and Pantech. The watchdog found operators guilty of offering discounts on products and services that were already incredibly expensive.
On top of the fine, each of the companies has been ordered to provide details on how much was offered in the way of incentives. The FTC followed up with new administrative measures to ban the companies from offering new incentives.