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SK Telecom aims at enterprise market

South Korean mobile service provider looks to enterprise as new growth area to expand business from saturated consumer market, says company executive.

To grow its bottom line, South Korean mobile operator SK Telecoms is casting its eye on the enterprise market in the face of a saturated consumer market, said a company executive.

Speaking to ZDNet Asia in an interview, SK Telecom's senior vice president of service development team, Jinhong Kim, said the move to enterprise is part of the company's long-term blueprint for consistent growth.

The company will target both the private and public sectors with its industrial productivity enhancement (IPE) strategy, which aims to contribute toward enhancing industrial productivity.

According to Kim, SK Telecom divides the enterprise market into eight segments: automobile, education, retail, finance, housing, healthcare, logistics, and small and midsize businesses (SMBs).

For these verticals, SK Telecom will provide not only telecommunications services but also total information and communication technology (ICT) solutions. Kim shared that SK Telecom has rolled out a smart payment system for Korea's second-largest wholesaler, Tesco, "just weeks ago".

The near field communication (NFC) service allows customers to store their credit cards, membership cards as well as coupons on their mobile phones. When paying with their handsets at Tesco stores, discounts will automatically be deducted from their bills.

Another part of the IPE strategy involves its mobile office solution. This has been developed to make IT infrastructure for the office, such as access to meeting management systems, available to employees on their smartphones, said Kim. The initiative was rolled out last month across the SK Group, the parent company of SK Telecom.

SK Telecom said it also plans to put this out to its clients, custom designed to their needs.

Key to mobile app store success
SK Telecom has also joined in the operator mobile app store craze with its own T Store.

Despite being launched only last September, the T Store already has 850,000 subscribers and several million downloads, said Kim.

SK Telecom also recognizes the importance of the developers group for the success of its mobile app store.

Just last month, the company established T Academy, a free software training center for developers. "We provide the training for operating systems, software development and content development so tentative developers can learn programming," he said.

The company also set up a mobile test center which provides terminals with different phone models so mobile app developers can test their applications on the various handsets, said Kim.

Both the training and test centers are located in Seoul, where half of SK Telecom's subscribers reside, said Kim.