10 Articles for 'SKT'
- 2009/09/15 SK Telecom App Store: No Shortage Of Criticism (1)
- 2009/07/28 A Glimpse into SK Telecom's App Store (3)
- 2009/06/12 Yet again, no iPhone for Korea (18)
- 2009/03/25 SK Telecom's Stealth Project: Create an iPhone-Fighter
- 2008/07/29 3G means profit hemorrhage
- 2008/07/17 Should SK Telecom buy Sprint? (3)
- 2008/01/11 Mobile coupon gaining popularity in Korea (1)
- 2007/11/21 The future of mobile carriers is here. It's called SK Telecom (2)
- 2007/11/14 So who is buying Sprint Nextel?
- 2007/09/24 Helio to become SK Telecom America? (1)
Picture from Digital Times
All in all, this sounds very much like creating an iPhone- (or Android-) fighter. This comes on the heels of the news that SKT is also planning its own App store, a la iPhone App store. It remains to be seen if SKT's efforts to create yet another iPhone-like ecosystem will turn out ot be a good decision. But the project's codename "Giant" certainly shows the company hopes their new platform/UI/apps strategy to take off big time.
3G means profit hemorrhageMobile | 2008/07/29 15:02 | Web 2.0 Asia
If you are in the US, often the TV ads you most frequently see are those for new cars. Well if you are in Korea, you are almost drowned by the mobile carriers' 3G TV ads. Some are humorous, some dead serious, but all those ads try to send out the single message: Become a member of our 3G service. Like this TV commercial on KTF's 3G service, which is about giving old folks shiny new 3G phones as a gift. (Now they are targeting the old folks? Come on, apparently they are trying to squeeze the last drop out of the market...)
Worse, "marketing budget" for mobile carriers doesn't only mean TV commercial costs. In fact, TV commercials only take up a minor share of their marketing budget. There's subsidies, MNP (mobile number portability) benefits, commissions to be paid out to shops, etc.
As a result, Korean mobile carriers saw profit slide in Q2: SKT spent roughly US$ 880mm in Q2, while KTF spent around US$ 620mm. To put these numbers in perspective, KTF's marketing expenditure was 40% of their whole revenue (not of profit). Both companies saw their stock price go down after the profit announcements.
But as all major carriers spent big money on marketing, the market share among the three carriers turned out to have stayed largely the same. So why bother with marketing? one might ask. Of course if you are from advertising industry, you'd not ask that question, but would hope the carriers will forever stay on their marketing binge.
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.
Mobile coupon gaining popularity in KoreaMobile | 2008/01/11 11:12 | Web 2.0 Asia
Users present mobile coupon (which normally includes a barcode, as shown above - many shops in Korea has m-coupon barcode readers) to get discounts, or they can also forward their coupons to friends as a gift. While SMS ads are being recognized as "spams", mobile coupons are being even "welcomed" by many consumers, the article says.
SK Telecom's mobile coupon service, dubbed "Gifti-con", saw an year-over-year growth of 700% from 2006 to 2007.
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.
It's not the first time Sprint Nextel was involved in an acquisition rumor - earlier this year, there were speculations that Korea's SK Telecom might be acquiring Sprint Nextel. But SKT denied the acquisition rumor and has not made any such move yet. Instead, the Korean giant invested yet another $270M in Helio in September.
Even aside from the US activities, SK Telecom seems to be in an acquisition mode in Korea these days, with its plan to buy Hanaro Telecom. Hanaro is Korea's #2 broadband and landline service operator. If the acquisition comes through, SKT will become a true end-to-end service provider spanning mobile and broadband, fortifying its market-leader position.
Techcrunch reported that, SK Telecom announced it will invest another $270m in Helio, which is expected to lose $340-$360m this year on a revenue of $140-170m.
With other MVNOs like ESPN mobile and Amp'd mobile busted, SK Telecom's move looks a bit dicey. But SK Telecom's mission seems to go beyond the boundary of the smallish Korean market. SKT also invested $1 bn for 6.6% stake in China Unicom (#2 Chinese mobile service provider) last June.
By the way, I found something interesting on the Wikipedia entry on SK Telecom, that the company kicks out people over 45:
At 45 years old the employee must leave the company and accept SKT's retirement package OR join SKT's "Manpower Surplus team" and continue to receive a salary but usually the shame of just sitting at a desk and doing nothing and the loss of retirement benefits is enough to make most employees leave.
This sounds pretty much true, but it was put pretty bluntly - especially given it's on the Wiki.