KT lifts Samsung smart TV ban

Tony Brown/Informa Telecoms & Media
07 Mar 2012

Broadband giant Korea Telecom might have lifted its ban on delivering content to Samsung’s connected TVs after just four days, but the battle over network neutrality in the world’s most advanced broadband market is an awfully long way from being over.

To end the dispute, KT and Samsung have agreed to enter into additional trilateral negotiations with the Korea Communications Commission. But neither company is likely to make any significant change to its position.

Put simply, KT officials still privately insist that Samsung – and other connected-TV players – must pay more to deliver their content over KT’s network, while Samsung officials have said publicly that they have no intention of paying KT for network access.

Good luck to the poor KCC officials trying to pick the bones out of that one.

The opposing arguments

As KT and Samsung continue their negotiations over the coming weeks, it is clear that the KCC will raise two key questions with the companies, the most urgent being ascertaining exactly how much data Samsung’s connected TVs are using on KT’s network.

So far, the question has not been satisfactorily answered. All we really know is that Samsung has sold about 800,000 connected TVs in South Korea and that about 300,000 of them are accessing the Internet via KT’s network. But we don’t know how much data people are actually using.

The KCC will be eager to get to the bottom of that issue. Considering that there is no local version of Netflix or even BBC’s iPlayer driving huge usage volumes, their question to KT will be simple: What is all this content that is supposedly clogging up your networks?

The second question the KCC will ask is why Samsung should pay KT for network access at all, since Samsung is not the content provider but is rather only a facilitator for other content providers looking to offer their services to subscribers.

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