5 Articles for 'SK Telecom'
- 2009/09/15 SK Telecom App Store: No Shortage Of Criticism (1)
- 2008/11/05 Korea's leading games company... turning into a family business? (4)
- 2008/07/17 Should SK Telecom buy Sprint? (3)
- 2007/11/21 The future of mobile carriers is here. It's called SK Telecom (2)
- 2007/09/17 Can you imagine Vodafone launching a Twitter clone? (2)
Picture from Digital Times
Korea's leading games company... turning into a family business?Other | 2008/11/05 14:38 | Web 2.0 Asia
Should SK Telecom buy Sprint?Mobile | 2008/07/17 00:35 | Web 2.0 Asia
CNBC reported Korea's #1 mobile carrier SK Telecom is in talks to acquire Sprint of the US. This is definitely not the first time SK Telecom was rumored to be interested in such a deal.
Should SK Telecom buy Sprint? I think so, given these:
1. SK Group has a fairly deep pocket and has a track record of hit acquisitions, so they will probably make this work right. Sprint is bigger than SK Telecom, but if we talk about the whole SK Group instead of SKT as a single company, it's a whole different story. This is relatively little known outside of Korea, but SK Group, Korea's #3 chaebol (after Samsung Group and LG Group), practically built itself through successful acquisitions. SK Telecom itself was an acquisition, and SKT has been quietly gobbling up content companies including Cyworld over the years. Of course there were some bad deals too (did someone just say Helio?), but you win some and you lose some, right? I believe there are more than enough # of smart guys at SK Group who will make sure a deal of this magnitude won't go sideways.
2. For SK Telecom, which is thriving in the Korean market but has been pretty much nonexistent outside the country, gaining an international presence is the name of the game. You can rule the Korean market as much as you want, but you're still limited to about 20-25 million subscribers range (Korean antitrust law demands SKT to keep its market share to about 50%). Sprint will give them a pretty nice presence in the ever-important US market, as well as a decent number of subscribers.
their ARPU was a whopping $80. SK Telecom can introduce interesting mobile services running on slick phones (such as the Samsung Instinct). Of course it will be a huge challenge to stack up against the iPhone and its app store.
But even if SK Telecom indeed buys Sprint, one thing they should never ever do is to try to inject Korean blood (human resource, corporate culture, services not localized enough, etc) into the American body. That doesn't work, and I'm sure everyone at SKT knows it by now very well, through their largely failed attempt to bring Cyworld to the US.
The future of mobile carriers is here. It's called SK TelecomMobile | 2007/11/21 01:17 | Web 2.0 Asia
SKT companies now include:
- SK Communications, which runs the ever-popular Cyworld
TU media, a DMB (DIgital multimedia broadcasting) service provider
- Seoul Records (a record label) and Melon.com, Korea's top music download service - So SK telecom is a powerhouse of music industry, both online and off
- IHQ, a talent agency and management company which has many K-wave stars under its roof
- Ntreev, an online gaming company
- Aircross, a mobile solution company
- YTN Media, a cable channel running Comedy TV and YTN Star
- Chungeorahm film, a major movie studio
- Morning 365, an internet bookstore
Paxnet, Korea's top finance portal
Hanaro acquisition, when goes through, will be of magnitude that's no comparison to other acquisitions SKT has made so far. It will be big - about $1.2 bn big, to be exact. But monetary figures aside, the value Hanaro will be adding to SKT and the overall synergies to be created are what scare the SKT competitors.
So, SKT was smart and prescient enough to realize one day the wireless carriers will turn into "dumb bit pipes". SKT wanted to avoid this fate by diversifying into multimedia businesses, mostly through acquisitions. And they have made some great acquisitions - I mean, who among other wireless carriers have such diversified portfolio, spanning DMB, game, music, movies, entertainment, and even finance - and now poised to take over the broadband and IPTV services as well?
But does it mean SKT has successfully transformed itself from a wireless carrier into something totally different? Is SKT's innovation scale ranked right up there with Googles and Apples? That's a bit hard to say. SKT is still a wireless carrier by DNA, and many times, it shows. SKT doesn't seem to understand the ins and outs of new media business as thoroughly as, let's say, Apple does. Well, if we expect SKT to be as innovative as Apple, it might be a bit of stretch anyway.
All in all, there's no wonder SKT is among very few carriers in the world that know how to think ahead and make the right moves. In that sense, the future of wireless carriers is here, and it's called SK Telecom.
Only that the future of wireless carriers itself, at least for now, doesn't look terribly bright... Rumors like doesn't help so much either.
Can you imagine Vodafone launching a Twitter clone?Web 2.0 | 2007/09/17 20:02 | Web 2.0 Asia
Can you imagine Vodafone developing a Twitter clone, in-house? Probably not. But that's what SK Telecom, the number one wireless service provider in Korea (sort of Vodafone of Korea) seems to be doing, with its new Tossi service.
Tossi is essentially a microblogging service with a bit of social networking, which can be accessed from both web and mobile. So it's not so different from Twitter and Jaiku.
In Korea, there's a well-known microblogging service called Me2Day. (I covered the service here). And it's commonly known that SK Telecom has been discussing business partnership with Me2Day. But for some reason SK Telecom decided to go its way and develop the service away. Someone at SKT must have said "Hey, a microblogging service? No sweat - we can build something like that in 2 weeks." That's just my speculation, but that's typicaly the way smart people at big companies think.
But the general opinion around the industry is SK Telecom should have just worked the partnership out with Me2Day instead of building its own service. That way, small companies can have an exit strategy and big companies can save time. That's why there are a lot of acquisitions happening in the Valley. Those guys in the Valley aren't exactly buying other smaller companies because they are generous, are they?
We know SK Telecom, like other big telcos, spent billions of dollars on securing the 3G bandwidth and they will do anything that will help them recuperate the investment. Well, if they want to recuperate billions of dollars, they should come up with a billion dollar plan - a plan that's a lot more fundamental and sophisticated than copying a several person company.