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KT smartphones to serve as wireless Web modems

CEO announces ‘mobile broadband’ focus in Abu Dhabi

Mar 12,2010
The head of Korea’s largest telecommunications company told reporters in Abu Dhabi yesterday that his company will put its focus on
“mobile broadband” over the coming months.

KT Chairman and CEO Lee Suk-chae, attending the inaugural Abu Dhabi Media Summit in the United Arab Emirates, said his company would usher in an era when people can easily access wireless broadband Internet services from all kinds of mobile devices.

To do that, KT will institute a “tethering service” to allow Korean smartphone users to connect their handsets to other devices like laptops, e-book readers and tablet PCs, connecting them to the Internet like a modem.

Such a system would free smartphone users from the need to find a Wi-Fi hot spot to connect their computers to the Web.

KT said Koreans who use the iPhone or Show Omnia models through the company will be able to use the service starting next month. Some 450,000 handsets in those two lines have been sold here through KT.

Industry observers said the move showed KT will focus more on data access than voice in its mobile services business.

KT rival SK Telecom announced last month that it will charge customers on a per-second basis for calls rather than in 10-second chunks, which used to be the case. SKT is Korea’s largest cellular service provider, but KT’s fixed-line services push it ahead in terms of overall scale.

The Korea Communications Commission has encouraged KT and LG Telecom to follow suit, but KT said it currently has no plans to do so.

“We believe data access in mobile phones will grow significantly in the near future. That is why we want to give our customers better service in data access,” said Yang Hyeon-mi, a KT director.

The Abu Dhabi summit, held from Tuesday until yesterday, was hosted by the government of the United Arab Emirates as part of a drive to make the country a global media hub. Those in attendance included leading media executives including Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong and Rupert Murdoch, chief executive of News Corp.


By Kim Hyung-eun [hkim@joongang.co.kr]



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