updated 09:10 am EST, Thu January 14, 2010
Nearly all new SKT phones to use Google OS
SK Telecom today said it would launch a focused campaign to regain market share from its iPhone-carrying rival KT. The Korean cell carrier plans to get as many as 2 million smartphone customers by using Android in 13 of the 15 new handsets it adds this year. By 2013, the company expects 40 percent of its lineup, or about 25 models, to be smartphones.
Part of the strategy involves setting up a Wi-Fi hotspot system throughout major cities in the country.
The Korean carrier is believed to have taken a severe hit to its market share after KT began carrying the iPhone in November. KT is believed to have had 65,000 iPhone pre-orders, or enough to represent 16 percent of the market in the previous quarter. The provider is now estimated to have sold about 240,000 units total in two months.
Competitors like SKT have already reacted to the presence of Apple by cutting Omnia II prices and otherwise bringing costs more in step with other markets. Korea has historically had higher device and rate prices as government protection of the industry has let a small number of carriers and device makers hold sway.