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Friday, 20 September 2013

Searching Network Provider in Korean Republic, Part I: SK Telecom

The first thing you must have in Korea for your vacation is Network Roaming. Let's say if you have Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel or AT&T as your default network while you're living in the States, you might be changed into the other network provider when you travel to the other countries. There are three network providers in Korea: SK Telecom, KT (Formerly known as Korea Telecom) and LG Telecom. First of all, I will introduce one of the famous network providers in Korean Republic, the SK Telecom. 

안녕하세요.  SK텔레콤본사에서 오신 것을 환영합니다. 저는 우에스기 미하토 입니다. 무엇을 도와드릴까요?
Good day. Welcome to SK Telecom Main Building. I'm Mihato Uesugi. What can I do for you?
SK Telecom Co., Ltd. (Hangul: SK텔레콤 or 에스케이텔레콤) is a South Korean wireless telecommunications operator, controlled by the SK Group, one of the country's largest chaebol (재벌, equivalent to Zaibatsu in Japan). Its headquarters is located at 65 Eulji Avenue, Euljiro 2-ga 11-beonji, Seoul Jung-gu. The current CEO of SK Telecom is Ha Seong-min/하성민 (2013).

SK Telecom is a provider of mobile service in South Korea, with 50.5% of the market share as of 2008. Since being established on March 29, 1984 the company evolved from a first generation analogue cellular system, to second generation CDMA, then to the world's first third generation synchronized IMT-2000 cellular system. SK Telecom also became the world’s first to commercialize HSDPA in May, 2006.

The company’s current services include NATE, a wired and wireless integrated multi-Internet service, June, a multimedia service, MONETA, a financial service, Telematic service such as NATE Drive and even Digital Home service. In 2004, SK Telecom launched Hanbyul, the world’s first DMB satellite. The carrier currently provides satellite DMB to its subscribers through its subsidiary TU Media Corp. SK Telecom also offers a variety of internet services, many through its subsidiary SK Communications. Cyworld is one of the most popular blogging services in South Korea and NateOn is one of the most popular instant messengers.

SK Telecom was established in March 1984 under the name Korea Mobile Telecommunications Services Corp., but was renamed Hankuk Idong Tongshin Corp. in May 1988. It was a wholly owned subsidiary of the state monopoly phone company, Korea Telecom. In June 1994 SK Group (Formerly Sunkyong Group/선경그룹) became Hankuk Idong Tongshin's largest shareholder. Hankuk Idong Tongshin officially joined the SK Group in January 1997 and changed its name to SK Telecom in March of that year. In October 2000, SK Telecom became the second operator in the world after NTT's DoCoMo to launch a commercial 3G service using W-CDMA technology. In January 2002, this was followed up by launching the world's first CDMA2000 1xEV-DO network, offering greatly increased data transmission speeds.

In May 2005, SK Telecom decided to sell 60% of SK Teletech stock to Pantech. In 2006, SK Teletech has changed its brand name to "SKY" and remains as Pantech's mobile phone line.

In the company's early stages (1984–1993), it launched a mobile phone service for automobiles and paging service. In March 1984, the company started as Korea Mobile Telecommunication Service. In May 1984, the company kicked off mobile communication service for automobiles. In July 1988, the company launched mobile Telecommunication Service.

In the company's privatization stage (1994–1996), through privatization, Korea Mobile Telecommunications Service became part of SK Group. Since then, the company established foothold in the global market with world’s first commercialization of CDMA technology. In June 1994, the company SK Group becomes largest shareholder. In January 1995, the company achieved 1 million subscriber mark. In June 1996, the company became the third Korean company to be listed in NYSE(ADR).

In the company's international stage (1997–2000), Hankuk Idong Tongshin was transformed to SK Telecom. SK Telecom also became the 6th company in the world to surpass 10 million subscriber mark. The company also began constructing the Northeast Asian CDMA belt encompassing China, Japan, Vietnam, and the whole Asian continent. In March 1997, the company name changed to SK Telecom. In October 1997, the company launched online service NETSGO. In June 1998, the company SK Telink Corp. started commercial overseas call service. In December 1998, the company SK Teletech Corp. launched first mobile handset. In April 1999, the company joined mobile comm. project in Mongolia. In July 1999, the company launched TTL, a telecommunication brand targeting the youth market . In Oct. 1999, the company started wireless internet service n.TOP. In Dec. 1999, the company surpassed 10 million subscriber mark. In Oct. 2000, the company launched world’s first commercial service for CDMA2000. In Dec. 2000, the company won contract on asynchronous IMT-2000 (WCDMA) service.

In the company's ubiquitous age (2001–2007), it began wired/wireless multimedia service era and began efforts to combine and converge mobile communication service. In the meantime, the company started seeking new value-creating models such as M-Commerce and satellite DMB Service. In Jan. 2002, the company completed merger of Sinsegi Communications. In Jan. 2002, the company launched world’s first synchronous IMT-2000 commercial service. In March 2002, the company started global roaming between countries adapting CDMA or GSM services. In April 2002, the company signed contract with Pelephone in Israel to provide wireless Internet platform. In July 2002, the company signed MOU with China Unicom to establish a joint venture. In Nov. 2002, the company launched mobile multimedia service June. In Nov. 2002, the company launched mobile payment service MONETA. In July 2003, the company started commercialized CDMA service in Vietnam. In Aug. 2003, the company June became the world’s first 3G service to get 1 million subscribers. In Feb. 2004, the company won certificate to establish UNISK, a joint corporate with China Unicom. In March 2004, the company launched world’s first DMB satellite. In November 2004, the company opened Melon, wired/wireless music portal service. In April 2005, the company started ‘1mm’ service. In November 2005, the company opened ‘Loview’, a digital photo frame service. In December 2005, the company reached 4 million subscriber base for Melon. In Janunary 2006, the company achieved sales record over 10 trillion KRW. In May 2006 the company commercialized handset-type HSDPA for the first time in the world. In May 2006, the company advanced into the U.S. mobile communication market with Helio. In June 2006 the company signed strategic partnership with China Unicom and purchased CB worth 1 billion USD. In June 2006, the company started commercial Wibro service. In April 2007 the company S-Fone in Vietnam reached 2 million subscriber mark. In April 2007, the company launched TD-SCDMA project with Chinese government.

In 2013 SK Telecom became the first provider in the world to offer a publicly accessible LTE-Advanced network. This coincided with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE-A, which offered a step-up CPU (Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 vs. Qualcomm Snapdragon 600) from the regular model and also LTE-Advanced capabilities. SK Telecom supported this handset at launch.

On July 6, 2013, it was reported that Apple was in talks with Korean mobile carrier, SK Telecom, to release the next gen iPhone on SK's LTE Advanced network.