Tag Archives: SK Telecom

SK Telecom & Socar collaborate on connected car service

socar-240-b-512x250

  • Collaborate with SOCAR to jointly build a connected car service supported by SK Telecom’s IoT network ‘LTE-M’
  • Plans to also provide its vehicle infotainment tablet installed with the T Map app to enrich driver’s in-vehicle experience
  • The MOU marks as a milestone for its IoT business as it applies its IoT platform and infrastructure to car sharing business

South Korean operator SK Telecom have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with SOCAR, the largest car-sharing company in Korea, to cooperate in the connected car business.

Under the MOU, SK Telecom and SOCAR will collaboratively develop and launch an innovative connected car service to enhance user experience in the era of IoT. SK Telecom will provide SOCAR with its in-car infotainment device installed with the T Map platform, and the cars will be connected via SK Telecom’s IoT network ‘LTE-M*.’ The connected car service will go through a pilot test in the end of this year and is expected to launch in the first half of 2017.

* SK Telecom has completed the nationwide rollout of the two key IoT-dedicated networks, namely LTE-M (as of March 2016) and LoRaWAN (as of June 2016) to perfectly support the widest range of IoT services.

With the support of the LTE-M network, the car sharing service users will be able to remotely control the car in real-time with no delay via their smartphones, and the car will be seamlessly connected to the control center to send/receive information.

Moreover, installed with SK Telecom’s user-friendly infotainment tablet equipped with T Map, the nation’s no.1 mobile navigation service provided by SK Telecom, SOCAR’s rental cars will deliver a new level of user experience through enriched infotainment services. For instance, users will not only experience the most accurate navigation service, but will also be able to enjoy diverse multimedia content and make future car sharing service reservations.

Car sharing service is growing rapidly throughout the world as it enables users to conveniently rent cars while saving cost. With the development and adoption of advanced ICT including connected car technologies, SK Telecom expects to create new business models that will bring differentiated value to customers.

“Through cooperation with SOCAR, SK Telecom successfully expands its IoT infrastructure and platform to the car sharing business,” said Kim Young-joo, Senior Vice President and Head of Enterprise Business Office of SK Telecom. “We will work closely with SOCAR to develop and provide more advanced connected car services.”

Source: SK Telecom

 

South Korea launches commercial IoT network

Seoul-South-Korea

SK Telecom have announced the completion of the nationwide deployment of Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN)* in South Korea based on LoRa technology; the launch of price plans for LoRa-based IoT services; and its plans to vitalize the IoT ecosystem.

The company finished building LoRaWAN across the country by end of June, six months earlier than its initial schedule, covering 99 percent of the population. By securing both nationwide LTE-M and LoRaWAN, which are two main pillars of the IoT network, SK Telecom said that it is now fully ready to create valuable business opportunities in the IoT era. The company had completed nationwide LTE-M rollout in March, 2016.

To promote the growth of the IoT market, SK Telecom plans to offer attractive price plans and develop innovative IoT services, while offering strong support for SMEs. To this end, the company will invest a total of KRW 100 billion by the end of 2017. It expects these efforts to lead to rapid expansion of the IoT industry by connecting over 4 million things to its IoT-dedicated networks by the end of 2017.

SK Telecom unveiled new price plans for LoRaWAN-based IoT services. The “Band IoT” plans come in six different tiers – i.e. from Band IoT 35 (approx. USD 0.3) priced at KRW 350 to Band IoT 200 priced at KRW 2,000(approx. USD 1.75) – depending on data use (refer to table 1) to allow SK Telecom’s customers – both enterprises and individuals – to choose one that suits the needs of their services. The Band Lora plans are highly affordable – costing merely one-tenth of SK Telecom’s LTE-based IoT services – and thus are expected to support active development and provision of diverse IoT services by easing the cost burden of startups and SMEs. The company is also offering diverse discount benefits for enterprise customers depending on their contract period and the number of lines they use.

For instance, a gas meter, which transmits relatively a small amount of data can be used by signing up for Band IoT 35, while a service that requires real-time communication like lighting control service can be used by signing up for Band IoT 200.

 

Considering the characteristics of the LPWA network, SK Telecom plans to develop services in the areas of metering, tracking and monitoring.

In the area of metering, the company is currently focusing on Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)*, which enables the utilities companies to not only accurately measure/monitor usage but also control the metering devices. SK Telecom has been conducting a pilot project on AMI with SK E&S since November 2015, and plans to expand the service coverage to more regions of the country in July 2016. Going forward, the company will launch AMI services for other utilities including water and electricity.

* Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) is an architecture for automated, two-way communication between a smart utility meter with an IP address and a utility company. AMI is expected to enhance user convenience and safety through its sophisticated remote metering & control features as well as automatic safety capabilities.

SK Telecom is also developing in tracking services to identify and track the location of vehicles, people/things, and assets. In cooperation with the local governments, the company plans to launch “Safe Watch,” a wearable designed to enhance the safety of children and the elderly in July 2016.

Moreover, SK Telecom will offer monitoring services capable of controlling and managing manufacturing/public/commercial facilities. For instance, monitoring service for a company that has a large-scale production facility will ensure that the equipment within the facility are operated in an optimal manner and the production environment is kept safe at all times. Environmental monitoring of CO2 concentration, temperature/humidity, as well as hazardous substances – e.g., measuring concentration levels of radon in the atmosphere and soil – can also be provided. In August 2016, SK Telecom will start an environmental monitoring service at Changjo (Creative) Village in Sejong.

Furthermore, the company plans to launch a total of 20 LoRa-based IoT services by the end of 2016, including a manhole monitoring service (in September) and a real-time shared parking service (in October).

Besides developing and launching IoT services of its own, SK Telecom will be making multifaceted efforts to vitalize the IoT ecosystem by encouraging the participation of developers, SMEs and startups. To this end, the company plans to set up a comprehensive program named ‘Partner Hub Program’ to nurture partners. Through the program, SK Telecom will share its expertise and knowhow, provide training and conduct joint development/ marketing.

To support the development of IoT services and devices, SK Telecom will create a space called ‘IoT Open Testbed’ for SMEs and startups at its Bundang Building to offer a one-stop development environment – which encompasses network, device and platform – for IoT services. At IoT Open Testbed, SMEs and startups will be able to verify their IoT devices, carry out tests to check interworking between their device and the IoT network/platform, and receive technical/service consultation.

SK Telecom also began providing LoRa modules free of charge on July 1, 2016. Aimed at facilitating the development and launch of LoRa services, the company will provide a total of 100,000 units of LoRa modules for free. Also, the low cost of the LoRa module – which is just one-fifth of that of an existing LTE module – will contribute to the development of the wide variety of IoT devices.

“SK Telecom is proud to announce the nationwide deployment of LoRaWAN as it marks the first important step towards realizing connectivity between infinite number of things, going beyond the traditional role of telecommunications centered on connectivity between people,” said Lee Hyung-hee, President of Mobile Network Business at SK Telecom. “Going forward, SK Telecom will develop and offer a wide variety of IoT services designed to offer new value for customers, while working closely with partners including SMEs and startups to vitalize the IoT ecosystem.”

Source: SK Telecom

SK Telecom Starts Pilot Operation of IoT-based Fish Farm Management System

  • Implements a smart eel farm management system based on IoT technologies for the first time in the nation
  • Utilizes a near field communications technology to observe key indicators including water temperature, quality, and dissolved oxygen and enables farmers to use their smartphones for real-time monitoring and systematic management of the farms
  • Aims to commercialize the fish farm management system in the first half of 2015 and expand the project to other species of fish
  • Expects to enhance national competitiveness and revitalize local economies through the use of ICT in traditional industries

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SK Telecom (NYSE:SKM) today announced that the company will implement an IoT (Internet of Things)-based fish farm management system (hereinafter, the management system) at an eel farm in Gochang, North Jeolla Province, and start a pilot operation for system validation on September 1.

SK Telecom, together with BD Inc., is developing the management system which will improve the current farm management process with the help of IoT technologies based on wireless sensor networks and enable farmers to remotely monitor their fish tanks in real-time through smart devices including smartphone.

In general, each eel farm has twenty to sixty water tanks, each measuring 6m in diameter. Eel farming is a high value-added business, but the farming requires farmers to arrange human resources to manually observe several indicators of each tank all the time including water temperature, dissolved oxygen and pH (every two hours and six hours for the young fish and grown ones respectively) as even minor changes in the environment such as a sudden temperature change, oxygen deficiency or water pollution are fatal to eels.

Under the IoT-based fish farm management system, three sensors are installed on each fish tank to measure water temperature, quality and oxygen level. Then, a water quality monitoring equipment will digitize and display the data from the sensors and send them to ‘SUN (Smart Utility Network)’, a new near field communications technology, so that Gateway can collect and transmit them using LTE networks to Mobius, an open ‘IoT’ platform of SK Telecom. Mobius will then send the data again to a fish tank management server for analysis and finally the users can check the tank status on the smartphones.

The data flow through IoT Gateway to SK Telecom’s open IoT platform which will then analyze the data and send status check results to the farmers’ smartphones in real-time.

If any abnormality is found, even in the middle of the night, the management system sends alarm messages to the farmers on their smartphones so that they can swiftly respond, thereby ensuring stable and efficient farm management.

In addition, when the user inputs data such as the volume of feed or shipment, the system makes analysis of the data to provide meaningful statistics and comprehensive information on the fish growth.

Providing the real-time monitoring feature and optimal information on fish farming, the management system is expected to enhance productivity of farming business while bringing revolutionary change to the farm management process by enabling farmers to manage risk factors simply with their smartphones.

Meanwhile, the smart farm management project is partly funded by the government as it was selected as a public-private partnership technology project by SMBA (Small and Medium Business Administration) last July.

SK Telecom aims to commercialize the IoT-based fish farm management system in the first half of next year. After applying the system to about 450 eel farms across the nation, the company plans to expand the project to different species of fish.

Also, SK Telecom plans to enter overseas markets including Japan and China with this project based on its know-how and knowledge earned in Korea. In particular, a set of technologies used to implement the smart fish farm can also be widely applied to agriculture and livestock farming.

Choi Jin-Sung, Executive Vice President and Head of ICT R&D Division at SK Telecom, said, “In a new era where all things are digitally connected, ICT, including IoT, can raise productivity and bring innovation to traditional industries. SK Telecom is committed to using the company’s leading technological edge to enhance national competitiveness and revitalize local economies”.

Source: SK Telecom

4G driving data usage but not all markets reaping the rewards


NEW ANALYSIS: ‘Digital pioneers’ are seeing a positive impact from 4G but Europe is still struggling, says a new report from GSMA Intelligence.

The rapid migration towards 4G-LTE in the world’s most advanced mobile markets is driving a surge in data usage, with 4G users typically consuming twice as much data per month as other users. However, while the introduction of 4G has led to an uplift in ARPU in some instances, the impact on revenue varies widely depending on the market.

As the only major market to have reached 100 per cent 4G population coverage, South Korea is the world’s most advanced 4G market, with penetration as a percentage of total connections passing the 50 per cent mark in Q4 2013. This compares to around a quarter 4G user penetration in Japan and the US.

Market-leader SK Telecom’s average monthly data consumption per user has risen significantly since the launch of its 4G network in H2 2011. The average monthly data consumption of its 4G users approximately doubled between Q4 2011 and Q1 2013, rising from 1.1 GB to 2.1 GB, while data usage via HSPA remained flat. This means that the operator’s total 3G/4G data traffic almost doubled in the space of 15 months, despite only a 2 per cent growth in total connections.

With such extensive 4G coverage available in the country, users in South Korea have also begun to eschew Wi-Fi networks – continuing to use 4G even when Wi-Fi is available – to maintain the consistency of their experience, especially when the 4G network provides a faster download/upload speed than a Wi-Fi service.

Although this trend is putting increasing strain on their networks, South Korean operators are generating significantly increased revenue from their 4G customers. At KRW46,000 ($43), SK Telecom’s 4G ARPU in Q3 2013 was around 32 per cent higher than its blended ARPU, with the operator noting that more than 70 per cent of new and upgrading 4G customers were opting for its higher-priced tariffs. Meanwhile, rival KT’s 4G ARPU of KRW44,000 ($42) was more than 40 per cent higher than blended ARPU.

Operators in the US are seeing similar trends. In October 2013, Verizon Wireless – the largest 4G operator globally with 36 million 4G connections in Q3 2013 – announced that those 38 per cent of its retail customers connected to its 4G network were responsible for 64 per cent of its total data traffic. The operator’s Q3 2013 ARPA (average revenue per account) was up 7.1 per cent on a year earlier, and has increased by 21 per cent since the launch of its 4G network in Q4 2010. Similarly, Cricket Communications CEO Jerry Elliot said in August 2013 that its “usage from a 4G customer is about twice that what it is for a 3G customer.” The operator’s ARPU was up 8.4 per cent year-on-year to reach $45.45 in Q3 2013.

In regions such as Europe the migration towards 4G is at a significantly earlier stage. This means that, while they have reported similar trends in terms of data consumption, operators in these regions are not yet seeing the same positive impact on revenue from 4G as witnessed in ‘digital pioneer’ markets such as South Korea, the US and Japan.

For example, in Q1 2013, Vodafone reported that average monthly data usage for its 4G smartphone users in Europe was 640 MB, approximately twice that for a 3G smartphone (350 MB) and roughly the same as a tablet operating on 3G. In Germany, Vodafone’s rival O2 said in Q3 that monthly average data consumption by smartphones using 4G services was three times that of non-4G smartphones.

In terms of revenue, the UK’s EE observed in its Q2 2013 report how an “increase of nearly 10 per cent was witnessed in the ARPU for existing customers migrating to 4G by June 2013”, and in its Q3 2013 report that “existing consumers migrating to 4G continue to show high single digit ARPU uplift.” This contributed to a slight annual rise in blended ARPU (+0.5 per cent), to £19.00 ($29.45) in Q3 2013.

This is a fairly modest increase compared to EE’s counterparts in South Korea and the US, but one which would surely be welcomed across the channel in France, where the expected ARPU uplift from 4G has evaporated for the three largest operators after low-cost rival Free Mobile introduced a 4G offering at no additional charge to its existing 3G service. This month, Orange France was forced to cut its lowest 4G tariff to €24.99 ($33.99) per month (via its SoSh low-cost unit), to ward off competition from Free, which offers 4G plans starting at just €19.99 ($27.19) per month. Similarly, second-placed French operator SFR has dropped its entry-level 4G tariff to €25.99 ($35.35) per month.

The average ARPU in France was down 13.2 per cent year-on-year in Q3 2013 to €22.82 ($30.23), and despite Bouygues Telecom, Orange and SFR all hitting 1 million 4G connections by the end of 2013, we expect to see the downward ARPU trend continue when those operators report their Q4 2013 financial results.

But France isn’t the only market where an operator has chosen to offer 4G services without charging a premium. For example, 3UK, which switched on 4G last month, is allowing customers to migrate without switching from their 3G contracts and will continue to offer unlimited data allowances. Telefonica Movistar – the market leader in Spain – is also offering 4G at the same price as 3G alongside a host of other incentives.

SK Telecom, average monthly data consumption per connection, Q2 2010 – Q1 2013
Source: SK Telecom

gsmai table

 Source: Calum Dewar GSMA

4G driving data usage but not all markets reaping the rewards

4G driving data usage but not all markets reaping the rewards


NEW ANALYSIS: ‘Digital pioneers’ are seeing a positive impact from 4G but Europe is still struggling, says a new report from GSMA Intelligence.

The rapid migration towards 4G-LTE in the world’s most advanced mobile markets is driving a surge in data usage, with 4G users typically consuming twice as much data per month as other users. However, while the introduction of 4G has led to an uplift in ARPU in some instances, the impact on revenue varies widely depending on the market.

As the only major market to have reached 100 per cent 4G population coverage, South Korea is the world’s most advanced 4G market, with penetration as a percentage of total connections passing the 50 per cent mark in Q4 2013. This compares to around a quarter 4G user penetration in Japan and the US.

Market-leader SK Telecom’s average monthly data consumption per user has risen significantly since the launch of its 4G network in H2 2011. The average monthly data consumption of its 4G users approximately doubled between Q4 2011 and Q1 2013, rising from 1.1 GB to 2.1 GB, while data usage via HSPA remained flat. This means that the operator’s total 3G/4G data traffic almost doubled in the space of 15 months, despite only a 2 per cent growth in total connections.

With such extensive 4G coverage available in the country, users in South Korea have also begun to eschew Wi-Fi networks – continuing to use 4G even when Wi-Fi is available – to maintain the consistency of their experience, especially when the 4G network provides a faster download/upload speed than a Wi-Fi service.

Although this trend is putting increasing strain on their networks, South Korean operators are generating significantly increased revenue from their 4G customers. At KRW46,000 ($43), SK Telecom’s 4G ARPU in Q3 2013 was around 32 per cent higher than its blended ARPU, with the operator noting that more than 70 per cent of new and upgrading 4G customers were opting for its higher-priced tariffs. Meanwhile, rival KT’s 4G ARPU of KRW44,000 ($42) was more than 40 per cent higher than blended ARPU.

Operators in the US are seeing similar trends. In October 2013, Verizon Wireless – the largest 4G operator globally with 36 million 4G connections in Q3 2013 – announced that those 38 per cent of its retail customers connected to its 4G network were responsible for 64 per cent of its total data traffic. The operator’s Q3 2013 ARPA (average revenue per account) was up 7.1 per cent on a year earlier, and has increased by 21 per cent since the launch of its 4G network in Q4 2010. Similarly, Cricket Communications CEO Jerry Elliot said in August 2013 that its “usage from a 4G customer is about twice that what it is for a 3G customer.” The operator’s ARPU was up 8.4 per cent year-on-year to reach $45.45 in Q3 2013.

In regions such as Europe the migration towards 4G is at a significantly earlier stage. This means that, while they have reported similar trends in terms of data consumption, operators in these regions are not yet seeing the same positive impact on revenue from 4G as witnessed in ‘digital pioneer’ markets such as South Korea, the US and Japan.

For example, in Q1 2013, Vodafone reported that average monthly data usage for its 4G smartphone users in Europe was 640 MB, approximately twice that for a 3G smartphone (350 MB) and roughly the same as a tablet operating on 3G. In Germany, Vodafone’s rival O2 said in Q3 that monthly average data consumption by smartphones using 4G services was three times that of non-4G smartphones.

In terms of revenue, the UK’s EE observed in its Q2 2013 report how an “increase of nearly 10 per cent was witnessed in the ARPU for existing customers migrating to 4G by June 2013”, and in its Q3 2013 report that “existing consumers migrating to 4G continue to show high single digit ARPU uplift.” This contributed to a slight annual rise in blended ARPU (+0.5 per cent), to £19.00 ($29.45) in Q3 2013.

This is a fairly modest increase compared to EE’s counterparts in South Korea and the US, but one which would surely be welcomed across the channel in France, where the expected ARPU uplift from 4G has evaporated for the three largest operators after low-cost rival Free Mobile introduced a 4G offering at no additional charge to its existing 3G service. This month, Orange France was forced to cut its lowest 4G tariff to €24.99 ($33.99) per month (via its SoSh low-cost unit), to ward off competition from Free, which offers 4G plans starting at just €19.99 ($27.19) per month. Similarly, second-placed French operator SFR has dropped its entry-level 4G tariff to €25.99 ($35.35) per month.

The average ARPU in France was down 13.2 per cent year-on-year in Q3 2013 to €22.82 ($30.23), and despite Bouygues Telecom, Orange and SFR all hitting 1 million 4G connections by the end of 2013, we expect to see the downward ARPU trend continue when those operators report their Q4 2013 financial results.

But France isn’t the only market where an operator has chosen to offer 4G services without charging a premium. For example, 3UK, which switched on 4G last month, is allowing customers to migrate without switching from their 3G contracts and will continue to offer unlimited data allowances. Telefonica Movistar – the market leader in Spain – is also offering 4G at the same price as 3G alongside a host of other incentives.

SK Telecom, average monthly data consumption per connection, Q2 2010 – Q1 2013
Source: SK Telecom

gsmai table