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Can “OZ” become the Successful Case of MNOs’ Next Killer Application?

Posted: November 20th, 2008, by Yunho Chung

On April, I posted that LG Telecom realeased the mobile full browsing service called OZ. OZ is a mobile internet service that offers full browsing and it costs 6,000 won (about 5 dollars) per month for 1 GB traffic (2,000~4,000 web page views).  On the 28th of October this year LG Telecom announced that the subscribers of OZ were more than 400 thousand, about 6% of their subscribers, since it was launched in April. So does OZ make significant financial results for LG Telecom? Let’s look at the ARPU development of LG Telecom and their competitors and see how they are doing.

Here are each MNO’s ARPU Development from 2007 2Q to 2008 3Q.

As you can see, MNO’s ARPU have not been increased, they have in fact decreased a little bit overall. In the case of LG Telecom, ARPU of 2008 3Q has been decreased by 2.2% from previous quarter and 3.4% from previous year.

Let’s look at the Data ARPU development which is directly related to OZ.

Data ARPU includes SMS, mobile internet, mobile contents and so on. Korean MNOs reduced the SMS prices by 33% from January 2008. SK Telecom’s Data ARPU in 2008 has been decreased mostly due to the SMS price reduction. KTF and LG Telecom’s Data ARPU have instead shown increased figures in 2008. In the case of KTF, the increasing subscriber base for SHOW (3G service of KTF) is the main factor for the improving Data ARPU. LG Telecom’s Data revenue of 2008 3Q was 80.6 billion won, which is an upturn by 0.6% from previous quarter and 7.5% from previous year. As LG Telecom said that OZ subscriber’s Data ARPU is 1.7 times more than other subscribers, the expansion of OZ subscribers would be the main factor to increase LG Telecom’s Data revenue. It seems that OZ made some improvement in revenues for LG Telecom. However offering just full browsing is not enough.

The total number of subscribers for OZ are increasing but the monthly net increase in OZ subscribers are in fact decreasing. I think this points out that LG Telecom needs to provide more than just full browsing, and that would be to focus on the CONTENTS that people want to consume and use. If those are not provided, LG Telecom’s OZ might just be a temporary fad for Koreans.

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