The nationwide volume of cell phone text messages and voice mails jumped 47 percent higher than normal on Monday, when the country had the heaviest snowfall since modern meteorological observations started in 1937, as people called in late for work and checked up on their families.
In comparison, cell phone calls increased by 7 to 18 percent during the snowstorm of Jan. 24, 2009, KT said. When rain poured down in the Seoul metropolitan area on Aug. 11, 2009, cell phone usage increased by 4 to 18 percent.
According to the country's three major mobile telecom providers -- KT, SK Telecom and LG Telecom -- cell phone usage usually hits highest annual point on New Year's Day. At SK Telecom, mobile phone calls surged a whopping 376 percent above the daily average on the first day of this year.
For other holidays last year, SK Telecom said calls increased 34 percent on New Year's Eve and Oct. 1, the day before the Chuseok or Korean Thanksgiving holidays began, 29 percent on Christmas Eve and 18 percent on Jan. 23, the day before the Lunar New Year's holidays began. By contrast, Lunar New Year's Day, Chuseok, and Christmas had lower than average usage rates.
KT and LG Telecom also saw cell phone usage on their networks fall by an average of 30 percent below average on last Lunar New Year's Day and Chuseok. "People seem to rest with their families and use their mobile phones much less on those holidays," explained an LG Telecom spokesperson.