Thursday, July 23, 2009

Korea Times: "Closed Mobile Market Frustrates Consumers"

The headline of this article in the Korea Times says it all.  There has been a lot of local press coverage about the Apple iPhone (not yet available in Korea) and Android Phones (being launched by Samsung and LG in Europe and not yet available in Korea).  This latest article summarizes many of the points I've made in earlier posts.  I'd add the following considerations just to sharpen the point.

  • it is becoming more than a little embarrassing for South Korea, a nation that touts its high levels of broadband internet access to actually deprive consumers here of mobile broadband access.  (I subscribe to SK Telecom's service but will NEVER use NATE.  Not only is Nate expensive, it doesn't even provide unfettered access to the internet! I'd like access to the internet via my handset.)
  • Instead of protecting old-fashioned, Korean language only services, Korea should open up the mobile internet market.  Force Samsung, LG, KT and SK Telecom to compete here with the best the world has to offer.  This competition, over the long run, can only strengthen Korea's position in the global market.
  • Now that handsets basically function like hand-held computers, it is natural that people want to use them as such.  This means that Korean corporations need to rapidly shift their focus to the production of software and content that young people today and future generations will want to use.  The handsets, like the PCs of old, will become commodities.  

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