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PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — An SSRT official said his Internet and phone service company can do more to improve service to U.S. military customers on the peninsula, but denied its prices are out of line and that its service is substandard.

Justin Ryu, business administration division manager for Samsung Rental Corp. Ltd., or SSRT, also said the company does not exploit the fact that most USFK customers are transient. Rather, he said, SSRT works hard to fix service problems in a timely manner and considers the schedules and working conditions of U.S. military customers.

The issues have been raised in customer complaints, both to Stars and Stripes and SSRT, which is under contract with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service to provide communications services.

Discussing the company’s prices, Ryu said SSRT has invested about $15 million in equipment and other costs to create a telecommunications infrastructure for service on U.S. military installations.

“And to cover all the investments we made, we have to charge those prices.” Ryu said.

The company’s customer service staff, Ryu contended, makes timely follow-ups on service calls.

“If it’s a long-term problem we won’t be charging you for those problems, and we’ll do our best to get them up and running again,” Ryu said.

Some phone problems stem from complicated switching systems on some installations, said Ryu. But SSRT plans “to invest a lot of money” to improve service, he said.

He acknowledged that the company has received customer complaints.

But “there are a lot of happy customers as well,” Ryu said.

The majority of SSRT customers who took part in a 2006 customer satisfaction survey gave the company high marks, he said.

Nevertheless, Ryu said, this year “we’re going to move to reduce the prices, get the quality [customers] deserve, and do” more business on U.S. installations.

The company next month will start a “Meet the Manager” program, he said.

“I think the problem is we need to listen to our customers more.”

Paying the price

Here is a list of SSRT’s monthly prices for Internet service on various U.S. military installations in South Korea :

Cable modem service, $41, available at all installations except Osan and Kunsan air bases.At Osan and Kunsan air bases, DSL service is $39.95.At Osan, dial-up Internet is also available, for $13.90 per month.Web sites for several leading South Korea telecommunications companies showed the following monthly rates (converted from won to dollars) for basic Internet service:

Korea Telecom Corp.: ADSL service with no contract, $32; for contracts that range from one to three years, $26.69 to $29.90.Hanaro Telecom Inc.: DSL without contract, $29.90; for contracts of one to three years, $26.91 to $29.Powercomm: Basic DSL without contract, $31.50; for contracts of one to three years, $26.69 to $29.92.— Franklin Fisher

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