Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lessons from SK Telecom's App Store: Welcome to the 21st Century

An article in the Korea Times contains some interesting bits of information about SK Telecom's new Apps Store.   Among the key points are:

  • It is a "me-too" effort, modeled after the great success of Apple's online App store.  
  • The only way apps can currently be downloaded is through SK Telecom's own fixed data rate plans.  Those not subscribed will have to pay on a per-packet basis, 3.5 won per kilobyte.   So downloading the 1,349-kilobyte ``2009 Pro Baseball'' mobile game, one of the most popular programs made available on T-Store, will cost users nearly 5,000 won for network usage, in addition to paying 3,000 won for the game itself.
  • The article quotes bloggers who note that SK Telecom only wants to make as much money as possible, and is not interested in improving the smart-phone experience of users.
  • SK Telecom remains concerned that free internet capabilities (via Wi-Fi) on their phones would lead to  VOIP calls on the handsets and thus cut into their voice revenue!!
 The last point is obvious from the growing number of Koreans who are using Skype on I-Pod Touch sets.  It would seem that it is time for SK Telecom, along with KT and LG Telecom, to develop strategies with an eye toward the future.  The future of mobile communications, as demonstrated by the iPhone phenomenon, and soon to be reinforced heavily by the likely success of Android around the world, lies with handsets that are really mobile computers.  This in turn means that future profits will come from software and content innovations.  Welcome to the 21st century!

No comments:

Post a Comment