Apple Accused of Squeezing Advertising Money Out of Mobile Operators in S Korea

Jul 28, 2020
Apple iPhone 11 street hoarding

South Korea’s antitrust regulator said on Tuesday it has given Apple Korea another month to announce a set of measures to address its anti-competitive business practices in the country.

The Fair Trade Commission ordered the local unit of Apple to come up with its own steps to correct those practices within a month.

Apple Korea is accused of having required the country’s three mobile operators – SK Telecom Co, KT Corp and LG Uplus Corp – to pay the cost of television advertisements and warranty service for its iPhones.

“The deadline has been delayed by another month to hold more discussions (between Apple Korea and the FTC) on details,” a commission official was quoted as saying.

Apple Korea and the antitrust regulator are reportedly fine-tuning the details after agreeing on a broad framework for the company’s corrective plan, reports Yonhap news agency.

Earlier, Apple Korea proposed holding consultations with South Korean mobile phone carriers to reduce their burden and share advertising costs.

Apple Korea also suggested it would put forward measures to ease other unfair business practices with the mobile phone carriers and to create a fund meant for mutual benefits of relevant parties, including consumers.

Also see: Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple CEOs to Face Antitrust Hearing on July 29

The commission has said Apple holds a clear advantage over local mobile carriers and that handing over the cost of advertisements is only another means to squeeze their profits.

The FTC official said the two sides will come up with a preliminary corrective scheme in late August and hear opinions from the interested parties and government ministries before the commission’s final approval.