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South Korean wireless companies may disconnect subway riders from their beloved mobile TV

February 26, 2009 | 10:01 pm
Commuters in Seoul watch mobile TV
Subway riders in Seoul love watching TV on their cellphones but may lose the privilege as wireless companies consider cutting back. Credit: Ju-min Park / Los Angeles Times.

Lee Suk-hee can stomach much of the belt-tightening that South Korea's gasping economy has asked of her, including fewer shopping sprees and more nights eating dinner at home.

But here's where the 47-year-old homemaker draws the line: Don't try to take away the free reality TV she watches on her cellphone while riding the subway every day.

"I bought this cellphone to watch television," she said during one recent underground trip. "I'd feel really bad if it went away."

It may. Reeling from declining ad revenue and mounting debt from providing the expensive service at no additional cost to subscribers, South Korean cellular operators may soon cancel subway TV coverage that has yet to turn a profit.

Read the full story here.

-- John Glionna