SK Telecom

Infobox Korean company
company_name = SK Telecom
company_type = Public company
foundation = March 1984
parent = SK Group
location = flagicon|South Korea Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
key_people = Shin Bae Kim (CEO)
industry = Telecommunication
products =
revenue =
operating_income =
net_income =
num_employees =
homepage =
hangul = SK텔레콤
hanja =
rr = SK Telecom
mr =

SK Telecom (Hangul: SK텔레콤 or 에스케이텔레콤) is a South Korean mobile telecommunications operator, controlled by the SK Group, one of the country's largest chaebol. As a part of SK Group, SK stands for Sun Kyung.


SK Telecom is a provider of mobile service in Korea, with 50.5% of the market share as of 2008 [cite news|author=Lee Sun-young|publisher=Korea Herald (|url=|title=Mobile operators pressured to cut call, message rates|date=2008-01-05|accessdate=2008-01-08] . Since being established on March 29, 1984 the company evolved from a first generation analogue cellular system, to second generation CDMA, then to the world's first third generation synchronized IMT-2000 cellular system. SK Telecom also became the world’s first to commercialize HSDPA in May, 2006.

The company’s current services include "NATE", a wired and wireless integrated multi-Internet service, "June", a multimedia service, "MONETA", a financial service, Telematic service such as "NATE Drive" and even Digital Home service. In 2004, SK Telecom launched "Hanbyul", the world’s first DMB satellite. The carrier currently provides satellite DMB to its subscribers through its subsidiary TU Media Corp. SK Telecom also offers a variety of internet services, many through its subsidiary SK Communications. Cyworld is one of the most popular blogging services in South Korea and NateOn is one of the most popular instant messengers.


SK Telecom was established in March 1984 under the name "Korea Mobile Telecommunications Services Co.", but was renamed "Korea Mobile Telecommunications Corp. (KMT)" in May 1988. In June 1994 SK Group became KMT's largest shareholder. KMT officially joined the SK Group in January 1997 and changed its name to "SK Telecom" in March of that year. In October 2000, SK Telecom became the second operator in the world behind NTT's DoCoMo to launch a commercial 3G service using W-CDMA technology. In January 2002, this was followed up by launching the world's first CDMA2000 1xEV-DO network, offering greatly increased data transmission speeds.

In May 2005, SK Telecom decided to sell 60% of SK Teletech stock to Pantech. In 2006, SK Teletech is changed brand name into "SKY" and remains as Pantech's mobile phone line.

Early Stages (1984-1993)

The company launched a mobile phone service for automobiles and paging service.
*March 1984: Started as Korea Mobile Telecommunication Service.
*May 1984: Kicked off mobile communication service for automobiles.
*July 1988: Launched mobile Telecommunication Service.

Privatization (1994-1996)

Through privatization, Korea Mobile Telecommunications Service became part of SK Group. Since then, the company established foothold in the global market with world’s first commercialization of CDMA technology.

* June 1994: SK Group becomes largest shareholder
* January 1995: Achieved 1 million subscriber mark
* June 1996: Became the first Korean private company to be listed in NYSE(ADR)

International (1997-2000)

Korea Mobile Communication Corporation was transformed to SK Telecom. SK Telecom also became the 6th company in the world to surpass 10 million subscriber mark. The company also began constructing the Northeast Asian CDMA belt encompassing China, Japan, Vietnam, and the whole Asian continent.

*March 1997: Company name changed to SK Telecom
*October 1997: Launched online service NETSGO
*June 1998: SK Telink Corp. started commercial overseas call service
*December 1998: SK Teletech Corp. launched first mobile handset
*April 1999: Joined mobile comm. project in Mongolia
*July 1999: Launched TTL, a telecommunication brand targeting the youth market
*Oct. 1999: Started wireless internet service n.TOP
*Dec. 1999: Surpassed 10 million subscriber mark
*Oct. 2000: Launched world’s first commercial service for CDMA2000
*Dec. 2000: Won contract on asynchronous IMT-2000 (WCDMA) service

The Ubiquitous Age (2001-2007)

Company began wired/wireless multimedia service era and began efforts to combine and converge mobile communication service. In the meantime, the company started seeking new value-creating models such as M-Commerce and satellite DMB Service.

*Jan. 2002 : Completed merger of Sinsegi Communications
*Jan. 2002: Launched world’s first synchronous IMT-2000 commercial service
*March 2002: Started global roaming between countries adapting CDMA or GSM services
*April 2002: Signed contract with Pelephone in Israel to provide wireless Internet platform
*July 2002: Signed MOU with China Unicom to establish a joint venture
*Nov. 2002: Launched mobile multimedia service June
*Nov. 2002 : Launched mobile payment service MONETAJuly 2003: Started commercialized CDMA service in Vietnam
*Aug. 2003: June became the world’s first 3G service to get 1 million subscribers
*Feb. 2004: Won certificate to establish UNISK, a joint corporate with China Unicom
*March 2004: Launched world’s first DMB satellite
*November 2004: Opened Melon, wired/wireless music portal service
*April 2005: Started ‘1mm’ service
*November 2005: Opened ‘Loview’, a digital photo frame service
*December 2005: Reached 4 million subscriber base for Melon
*Janunary 2006: Achieved sales record over 10 trillion KRW
*May 2006: Commercialized handset-type HSDPA for the first time in the world
*May 2006: Advanced into the U.S. mobile communication market with Helio
*June 2006: Signed strategic partnership with China Unicom and purchased CB worth 1 billion USD
*June 2006: Started commercial Wibro service
*April 2007: S-Fone in Vietnam reached 2 million subscriber mark
*April 2007: Launched TD-SCDMA project with Chinese government


Convergence Services

SK Telecom provides convergence services in entertainment, business and finance.


Melon is SK Telecom's music service, which allows users to download or stream music over the internet, such as on mobile phones. The music can be played on mobile phones, digital audio players, portable media players and digital cameras. Users can also create their own ring tones.


m-Finance, a financial manger introduced in 2001, allows users to take charge of all their financial transactions. Properly equipped mobile phones can do basic banking such as wire transferring and checking balances as well as stock trading and credit card services. Users can also withdraw cash from ATMs through the mobile phone.

Digital Home

Digital Home allows users to control and monitor home appliances, lighting, security systems and fire alarms remotely. The service also incorporates mobile communications networks, high-speed internet and cable broadcasting networks.

Mobile RFID (m-RFID)

Phones with embedded RF readers give users vital information about products before users purchase them. SK Telecom has tested this technology for six applications including, safety, authentication, package tracking, supply chain management, digital content usage and location-based services.

Global Business

SK Telecom is currently putting its efforts in expanding into global markets, such as Vietnam, U.S., and China. The company is also forging strategic alliances with other global carriers and IT businesses.


In 2000, SK Telecom first entered China, later forming a joint venture with China Unicom for wireless Internet service in February 2004. This joint venture between a foreign and local company, UNISK, is the first of its kind in China.

In 2006, SK Telecom bought $1 billion worth of convertible bonds of China Unicom Hong Kong, a China Unicom enterprise and agreed to cooperate in joint sourcing of handsets, development of additional services, platform development, marketing and distribution, customer relationship management, and network development. One result of this partnership is jointly developing handsets to be sourced by Samsung, LG, and Motorola.

In August 2006, SK Telecom signed an MOU making it the first non-Chinese company to participate in the TD-SCDMA Project. Under the agreement SK Telecom will work with China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) on development of TD-SCDMA, China's 3G mobile telecom technology standard.

USA: Helio

On January 26, 2005, SK Telecom announced that it had formed a $440 million joint venture with Earthlink to form a new US mobile carrier named SK-Earthlink, later that year, the company name was changed to Helio. Combined with Earthlink, Helio is expected to offer a variety of advanced mobile devices, many of which are currently for sale in Korea. These models would be refined and updated for use by tech-savvy American consumers, allowing for the first time handsets with functionalities previously unavailable in the US market.

The venture operates on the premise of being a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), using CDMA 1xEVDO network capacity leased from Sprint Nextel. Their current devices include the Kickflip, the Hero, the Heat, the Drift, the Ocean and the Fin. SK Telecom is currently in talks to purchase Sprint Nextel. [cite news|url=|title=SK TELECOM PUSHING TO ACQUIRE US TELCO SPRINT NEXTEL|date=2007-07-25|author=Koh Byung-joon|publisher=Comcast Finance|accessdate=2007-08-03]

On June 27, 2008, it was reported that Helio was being acquired in an all stock deal by Virgin Mobile- for a net acquisition price of $39 million - in stark contrast to the $500 million investment in the venture.

Vietnam: S-Fone

In September 2001, SK Telecom established S-Telecom, Business Cooperation Contract (BCC) in Vietnam and SPT (Saigon Postel), a Vietnamese company with a CDMA license.

S-Telecom, the first CDMA mobile phone service provider in Vietnam, launched commercial service in July 2003 and has upgraded its system to CDMA2000 1xEV-DO to meet the growing demand from customers. Currently the company is providing services to 64 cities including Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi under the S-Fone brand.

As of October 2006, the company was providing EV-DO wireless internet services in five major cities including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. S-Fone subscribers reached two million in April 2007, a little over three years after its start.

Employee Conditions

SK Telecom has its own workers union. SK Telecom abides by the Korean Labor Law and is executing a retirement age of 58. Unless an employee commits a crime more serious than imprisonment or an act in violation of ethical management of SK Telecom, employees are guaranteed to work until they reach the retirement age. SK Telecom follows a management system called SKMS (SK Management System), created by SK Companies.


SK Telecom has a number of subsidiaries that support its growth. In 2006, SK Communications strengthened its linked services with SK Telecom, strengthening Korea’s top community portal Cyworld, and developing its model into a global business. Currently, Cyworld services are expanding in Asia, Europe and North America. At home, NATE ON is the leading messenger service in 2006, with more than 13 million users. SK Telink, an international telephony company, launched international Korean SMS services in the U.S., and now operates in more than 170 countries. TU Media, the nationwide satellite Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) service, is also making fast growth, attracting more than 1 million subscribers in 2006.

K Communications

Since its 2002 launch as an online portal service provider, SK Communications has grown to be one of the most popular Internet portals in Korea. The largest online community site in Korea, Cyworld has seen a sharp rise in its users, with members reaching 20 million from 16 million in 2005. SK Communications also provides the top instant messaging service NateOn. As of December 2006, NATE ON had 13 million users and led the local market. In 2006, the portal refreshed its site as a Web 2.0 customer-focused portal with an emphasis on social bookmarking, personalized content and community services. Cyworld II also re-launched with Web 2.0 offerings, including a personalized mini-homepage, personalized search, UCC video and other Web-based applications that offer user-customization services.

The company is currently extending its online businesses into the global market. In 2006, SK Communications opened up its Cyworld services in China, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, the U.S., and Vietnam. To make full use of its premium base, the company is building a portfolio of high-quality content providers, including education company Etoos; consumer shopping services under the Cymarket brand, which leverage Cyworld’s network and traffic; gaming subsidiary SK i-media; and Egloos, the leading independent blogging service in Korea. In addition, the company acquired a significant stake (24.4%) in powerful online search engine, Empas, for KRW 37.2 billion.

K Telink Corp

SK Telink was established in April 1998 as an international telephony service provider and has grown into a major player in the international calling market. Under the brand name 00700, the company provides international call services. Building on the commercial long-distance telephony and value-added services launched in 2005, the company began offering Korean text messaging in June 2006 in the U.S. The service allows subscribers send and receive Korean text messages in the U.S., as well as to and from Korea.

TU Media Corp

Established in December 2003, TU Media Corp. introduced a new digital media service— satellite Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB). Subscribers can now view satellite TV broadcasts on their portable handsets or via vehicle-mounted terminals. As of December 2006, subscribers to TU Media topped 1 million, up from 372,000 in 2005. Its nationwide DMB is available on 37 channels, consisting of 16 video, 20 audio and one data, and provides programs on education, games, drama, music, news and culture. In 2006, TU Media launched TUBOX, a pay-per-view movie channel that allows subscribers to see movies prior to DVD release. In addition to South Korea's 84 cities, TU Media provides service in express highways and Seoul metropolitan subways. In 2006 the company expanded its satellite DMB coverage to include the Korea Train eXpress (KTX) Seoul to Busan line, Busan subways and 10 metropolitan Seoul local highways.

ee also

* SK Group
* SK Teletech (Now merged into Pantech Curitel & Sky Electronics)
* List of Korea-related topics
* Economy of South Korea
* Communications in South Korea
* Cyworld
* Nate
* LG Telecom
* TU Media


External links

* SK Telecom official website ( [ Korean] / [ English] )
* [ Helio (formerly SK EarthLink) official website]

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