Friday, July 24, 2009

A Modest Mobile Communication Proposal for Korea

Today the Joongang Daily has an interesting article providing more background on why KT and SKT are delaying their decision on whether to import or not import the Apple iPhone.  I suggest that both companies, along with Samsung and LG Electronics, accept some basic realities and move forward.  Why not do the following:

  • Immediately begin offering full internet access via existing 3G networks, with reasonable monthly charges for unlimited data (internet browsing) use.  Say in the range of 30,000 to 40,000 won.
  • Equip most phone models, by default with WiFi capability, and as many as possible with WiBro.
  • If Apple is driving too hard a bargain, come out with some snazzy Android phones.  This, even more than the iPhone, probably represents the future of mobile communication.  Furthermore, since it is open source, it offers far greater future rewards for Korean companies.
  • Offer an easy toggle to English and other major international languages in your software for ALL future phones that you release.  Although foreigners and tourists may constitute a niche market, it is an important niche.
Given the huge stake that LG and Samsung, along with KT and SKT have in the global marketplace, I'm amazed that some of these things haven't already been done.  The basic reason for the popularity of the iPhone is that people realize they can now take the internet with them, wherever they go, 24/7.  Sooner or later, consumers in Korea will demand the same level of service currently provided in other countries.

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