Consider the following:
- There has been relatively slow and little uptake of the internet services offered by nation's mobile service providers on their 3G phones. I have Nate and other SK Telecom services on my Motorola Razr phone but I seldom use them because of the inordinate cost. The cost of surfing the web on current 3G services in Korea is way out of line. There is your problem and it is a big one.
- The Apple I-phone, Google Android based phones give a glimpse of what is coming. It is really a hand-held computer that also serves as a phone. I want my next phone in order to do Google searching, read BBC or the New York Times, check my e-mail, or make a Skype or other VOIP call. The Korea Communications Commission has recognized that the world is full of consumers like me and so they have opened up the mobile market to the I-phone, Blackberry and other international competition, starting in a few months.
At this point, there is very little question that both WiBro and LTE will be successful for the simple reason that they add mobility to our experience of the internet. I've used WiBro and it works just fine, thank you. So will LTE, when they get to the same stage of technology rollout.
One final comment. Of course SK Telecom doesn't like the thought of WiBro handsets, WiBro notebooks and all sorts of WiBro-equipped devices. ``We would need to invest at least two trillion won more to complete a nationwide WiBro network, and the cheap calls on WiBro handsets will erode our profits by initiating fierce competition,'' said an SK Telecom spokesman. So what else is new? Of course it will erode SK Telecom's profits and initiate competition. I would only suggest that SK Telecom cannot forestall the inevitable move to more powerful handsets. Nor will it thrive in the long run through thinking only about protection of short-term profits.