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Mobile carriers revel in World Cup bonanza

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July 02,2006

Customers at a branch of Starbucks in central Seoul take part in a trial run of terrestrial DMB handsets by LG Electronics. Provided by the company

After flooding televisions with more advertising than any other sector during the FIFA World Cup, Korean mobile carriers have seen sales soar.
From June 1 till June 29, KTF and LG Telecom sold a combined 103,761 cellphones that can receive terrestrial digital multimedia broadcasting, or DMB, up about 20 to 30 percent from the previous month.
KTF, Korea’s second-largest carrier, posted sales of 61,000 land-based DMB phones over the same period, the best monthly figure since it began sales in January, and up over 12,000 from May.
LG Telecom, the third-largest carrier, sold 42,761 such phones in June, up about 8,000 units from the previous month.
SK Telecom also enjoyed brisk sales of DMB handsets, shifting 23,600 units over the period. Reluctant to undermine its satellite-based DMB service ― which has a clearer resolution than its terrestrial counterpart but requires a monthly fee ― Korea’s No. 1 carrier had held out on selling land-based DMB cellphones until May 23.
Despite marketing just one model, the SCH-B410 by Samsung Electronics, SK sold more than 1,000 units per day in June, on average.
“A large number of people wanting to watch daytime repeats of early morning soccer matches prompted the sales of DMB phones,” a KTF spokesman said, “Expansion of DMB service coverage to the entire subway network of the Seoul metropolitan area on June 7 added momentum.”
Had Korea reached the round of 16, the companies said, sales would have received an even greater boost.
Mobile phones are not the only gadget capable of receiving and delivering DMB signals. There are portable multimedia players, navigation systems and even MP3 players.
DMB-friendly devices had racked up combined sales of 1 million units as of June 19, with some 143,000 of those coming in the first 15 days of the World Cup, according to a committee composed of businesses involved in the terrestrial DMB service.
“More diverse appliances that merge DMB function are expected to make a debut in the near future,” said a senior executive at a manufacturer of portable multimedia players.


by Seo Ji-eun


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