[THE INVESTOR] Nearly 200 billion won (US$178.20 million) worth of membership points by Korea’s three mobile carriers went unused and expired over the past six years, a report by Ministry of Science and ICT showed on Feb. 7.
A total of 190.5 billion won worth of reward points offered by SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus expired from 2013 to 2018, roughly 1.4 times the points accumulated over the same period, according to the report submitted to parliament.
The telecommunication companies provide consumers with membership points proportionate to their mobile phone subscription plans, which can be used to pay part of their phone bills or get discounts at restaurants and stores. The points expire within seven years.
The unused points by top two players SK Telecom and KT each reached over 85 billion won, while those by No. 3 LG Uplus stood at 18.4 billion won over the six-year period.
The amount of reward points has steadily decreased from 2013 as the companies have trimmed down their membership programs, the ministry said.
“Consumers can save on their phone bills by using membership points that come with their mobile phone subscription plans, but mobile carriers haven‘t actively promoted the benefits,” Rep. Noh Woong-rae of the ruling Democratic Party said, calling for the companies to encourage their consumers to use their reward points.
By Ram Garikipati and newswires (firstname.lastname@example.org)