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SKT Stands up Against iPhone

Posted: June 1st, 2010, by Yunho Chung

Since the official release of the iPhone last year November 28th, with sole custody by KT, SKT and LGT has been very aware of the consequences Apple is going to bring to Korea’s telco industry. Reaching 100,000 in iPhone subscribers within the first month of its release(continued to 500,000 in 4 months), the iPhone has certainly been KT’s miracle drug who had only accumulated 20,000~30,000 for the past two years. However while KT has been quite laid back with its taste of victory, SKT(dominant in Korea with over 50% of mobile market shares) has been vigorously pursing strategies to stand up against the iPhone. LGT has its own strategies, but is happening to be lagging with a weak line up of new smartphones  just as KT is, without its bread winning iPhone.

KT
KT has been tasting the fruits of its, well, heavy “investment” for monopoly over the iPhone supply in Korea. However, recently they have also been facing a curb in number of smartphone models obtained from Samsung. It is no secret that Samsung has expressed its disregards towards the entry of iPhone into the Korea (of course we cannot simply draw an induction with these two parallels).
Moreover, though KT has been believed to be stepping ahead with release of other Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones in the market, it has only three smartphone line ups consisting of Nokia X6, LGE’s Android phone, Pantech.

LGT
LGT has not been so hot either. Though it has always ranked 3rd amongst the 3 telcos in Korea, its new ‘Integrative LGT’ project’s communication system has made it the incompatible to foreign manufactured smartphones. Like KT, its number of line ups has been limited to two, the Eclipse phone and Samsung’s Android phone.

SKT’s forthcoming smartphones are △ Samsung’s ‘Galaxy A’, ‘Galaxy S’ △ HTC’s ‘Designer’, ‘HD2′ △ Sony Ericsson’s ‘Xperia X10′ △ Motorola’s ‘droid’, ‘XT800W’ △ Pantech’s ‘Sirius’ △ Research In Motion’s (RIM)  ‘BlackBerry Bold 9700′ △ LG Electronics ‘SU950′, 10 species in total.

SKT
SKT on the other hand, has been on fire with its plans to release 10 kinds of new smartphone in the second quarter. This is astonishing compared to the 13 models it has released over the past 5 years. It is basing most its models on the Android OS, with it grand trophy phone, the Galaxy S (of which SKT has sole supply rights) releasing hopefully this June. Its high utility with acute telecommunication openness and portability, has given it high expectations to be most competitive against the iPhone in Korea. Its further announcement in April 14th to go all-out open WiFi is likely to bring an inevitable showdown with KT.

The arrival of iPhone has certainly made its waves in Korea’s telco market. However, there is certainly more yet to be seen of what will become of the three telcos – KT, LGT and SKT – of Korea.

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