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Which Smartphone Is Smarter?

Posted July. 19, 2005 03:22,   


High-Speed Internet vs. Mobile Communications Service—

The Smartphone introduced by Pantech for SK Telecom subscribers has no “wireless LAN” function. This is not because of Pantech’s lack of technical competence, but by the request of SK Telecom.

SK probably excluded the function because it is well conscious of Korea Telecom (KT), the largest wireless LAN service provider in Korea, according to allied industries.

Until now, KT has been running a successful business providing wireless LAN service as a key function which is cheaper and faster than any mobile communications network. Its regional limitation of a relatively small access area was also solved through sharing the mobile communication network of its affiliate company, Korea Telecom Freehold (KTF).

Wireless LAN allowing free downloads of moving pictures and materials is a hazardous service that nibbles out a huge amount of a mobile communication company’s profits gained by information use and data call charges. The service, in this sense, is not at all good for the business of mobile communication companies.

“SK Telecom made it clear that wireless LAN function is unnecessary. The function is equipped with Smartphone for export, but not for domestic demand,” said managing director Lee Sang-soo of Pantech.

KTF has apparently been cooperative with the KT’s Smartphone business, but has pushed for the development of Smartphone without the wireless LAN service. The product is planned to be available in the market earlier next year.

What Will the Next Smartphone Be Like?—

Following Pantech, Samsung Electronics is expected to release its new SPH-M600 slide-type mobile phone next month, which uses the Smartphone operating system. This product has no wireless LAN function either.

“Since the demand for Smartphone not only KT, but also mobile communication companies, such as SK Telecom and KTF, is quite high, we’re planning to develop various new products sooner or later,” according to Samsung Electronics.

LG Electronics is also considering joining the market for Smartphone, and Pantech is expected to additionally release Smartphone for KTF subscribers earlier next year.

Sang-Hoon Kim sanhkim@donga.com