KT chief espouses a virtual vision

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KT chief espouses a virtual vision


Lee Suk-chae, chairman of Korea’s second-largest telecommunications company, KT, second on right takes part in a discussion yesterday at Mobile Asia Expo in Shanghai. [NEWSIS]

The longtime business model focusing on voice calls and text messages that telecom companies had in the past no longer guarantees a promising future, KT Chairman Lee Suk-chae said yesterday.

The company will shift its concentration to broadband networks that combine wired and wireless services and virtual space.

“Virtual space in the future could evolve into a true global free trade zone that is devoid of national boundaries and logistics costs,” he said during a keynote speech at the Mobile Asia Expo in Shanghai with the theme: “The Future of Telcos: The Cyberspace Economy.” “That will make it easier for startups and other creative economy-centered companies to enter the market. Virtual goods will emerge as global products, breaking even language barriers on the back of advanced user interfaces (UI) and user experiences (UX).”

He further predicted that telecom operators will be able to find new business opportunities by excavating big data when they combine smartphones and cloud computing technologies in a cyberspace that has enormous information about users and locales.

According to telecom device producer Ericsson, smart devices worldwide will total as much as 5.4 billion sales by 2018. As Korean mobile service providers seek bigger revenues from data with rapid penetration of the fourth-generation long-term evolution (LTE) network, KT mobile subscribers currently use an average of 1.9 gigabytes of data per month - 250 times more than they did four years ago.

In a move to go beyond being just a mobile carrier, KT has been recently been making efforts to advance into overseas media content markets. Together with KT OIC, a smart learning platform developer and distributor, KT yesterday clinched a contract with Viettel, a top mobile carrier in Vietnam, to supply a combined 14,000 mobile phone ringtones and dial-up sounds. The telecom company has 60 million subscribers and Vietnam is known to have great growth potential with the world’s 14th-largest population of nearly 90 million. KT will supply additional smartphone-related music sources in the future, becoming a bridgehead with the Southeast Asian country for virtual goods distribution.

KT also has developed and operates Genie K-pop, a music-streaming application available in 27 countries, and Ustream Korea, which provides live broadcasts in more than 190 countries.

Mobile Asia Expo is an annual event organized by the Global System for Mobile Association, which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide.

BY SEO JI-EUN [spring@joongang.co.kr]

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