Mobile carriers eyeing non-core businesses
By Cho Mu-hyun
Though mobile carriers are seeing a rapid rise in long-term evolution (LTE) network subscribers, they are also anxious to earn revenues from what was hitherto considered out of their business areas.
SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus have shown near same services in telecommunication business recently, all boasting a nationwide LTE network and all releasing voice over LTE (VoLTE, or making voice calls available on an LTE network).
Market saturation and the declining profits due to heavy investments on network building are now pushing companies to find a way to increase competitiveness by differentiating themselves from rivals, especially for the second half of this year.
SK Telecom, which announced 4 million LTE subscribers Sunday, wants its members to take a keen interest in its growing content.
The firm is leading in adopting near field communication (NFC) technology in its services. NFC refers to a set of standards for smart devices to establish radio communication with each other in close distance.
The company has been working closely with its content developing subsidiary SK Planet to apply the technology wider than its current use in baseball games and monetary transaction, and will reveal a related service platform in October.
It has been the most vocal among carriers that the true values of using LTE phones come from its incredible data availability and download speed, not just voice calls.
To promote data use, a service called T Freemium, which offers 20,000 won worth of movies and apps, was launched in April and has marked over 6 million downloads in three month.
On the other hand, LG Uplus, is betting hard on cloud computing games to increase revenue. The firm, launching its cloud game platform C-games on Thursday, has become the first mobile carrier to truly offer all content services currently available through cloud computing in smart devices (called N-Screen).
The company’s service is the first for a mobile carrier to provide an exclusive game platform. The move is in line with statements of Lee Sang-chul, chief executive of the firm, who said with the connectivity speed near similar between companies, it was innovative content that users want now.
LG will offer 30 titles by the end of the month with a goal to increase it by a hundred, with the possibility of adding large-scale online role-playing games previously unavailable in smartphones.
KT, though with the least amount of LTE subscribers with 1.5 million, have been in “deep discussions” to create content that is fresh.
“We have already adapted cloud computing in some of our services, and are reviewing various ways to approach creating new services,” said a KT spokesman. “Cloud games, and other N-Screen services, are something we are always considering to develop further to distinguish ourselves (from competing firms).”
The firms mobile division chief Pyo Hyun-myung, who now manages NFC division of the company as well, released its own data which stated that “more content” is third on the list of what users wanted changed the most in recent services.
Providing more media services is an important part of what the company is preparing for the second half of this year, he said.
KT has also been managing non-telecommunication firms, broadcaster KT SkyLife and credit card service BC Card, and vowed to produce synergy between them and its other businesses to produce new products.