The Unfulfilled Promise of Korean Telecommunications Reform

16 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2004 Last revised: 13 Oct 2012

See all articles by Christopher S. Yoo

Christopher S. Yoo

University of Pennsylvania Law School; University of Pennsylvania - Annenberg School for Communication; University of Pennsylvania - School of Engineering and Applied Science

Date Written: 2004


The deployment of telecommunications services in Korea represents one of the great technological success stories of the developing world. In a remarkably brief period, the penetration of local telephone service, wireless telephony, and broadband technologies has soared to among the highest levels in the world. The history of Korean telecommunications thus provides a useful case study for other developing countries seeking to expand and modernize their telecommunications infrastructures. At first blush, the explosive growth of telecommunications services has appeared to go hand in hand with the liberalization of Korea's telecommunications markets. A review of the history of Korean telecommunications reform reveals that the market liberalization that did exist was largely the result of foreign pressure. Moreover, although Korea took steps towards liberalizing its telecommunications markets, culminating with the substantial reforms announced in 1995, it has backslid since that time, allowing the industry to engage in a disturbing degree of re-concentration. As a result, Korea has not received the full benefit of the enhancements to consumer welfare, efficiency, and innovation that traditionally result from competition. It also suggests that, notwithstanding pronouncements to the contrary, the traditional pattern of direct governmental involvement in industrial policy remains firmly in place.

Note: This is a description of the book and not an actual excerpt.

Keywords: Telecommunications, regulated industries

JEL Classification: K2, K23, L96, H0

Suggested Citation

Yoo, Christopher S., The Unfulfilled Promise of Korean Telecommunications Reform (2004). LEGAL REFORM IN KOREA (Tom Ginsburg ed., RoutledgeCurzon 2004).; Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 04-01; Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 04-01. Available at SSRN:

Christopher S. Yoo (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6204
United States
(215) 746-8772 (Phone)


University of Pennsylvania - Annenberg School for Communication ( email )

3620 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6220
United States
(215) 746-8772 (Phone)

University of Pennsylvania - School of Engineering and Applied Science ( email )

3330 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6309
United States
(215) 746-8772 (Phone)

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