SK Telecom and Uber to form ride-hailing joint venture

Uber will invest $100 million into a joint venture with South Korean telco SK Telecom.
Written by Cho Mu-Hyun, Contributing Writer

SK Telecom has entered into a partnership and joint venture with Uber that both focus on the ride-hailing sector.

According to the companies, SK Telecom will split off its mobility services to form a subsidiary called T Map Mobility sometime this year, which Uber will back with a direct investment of $50 million.

T Map Mobility will provide a subscription-based mobility-as-a-service offering comprising of rental cars, ride-hailing, parking, and other transportation-related services all in one bundle, the companies said.

The newly formed subsidiary will also leverage SK Telecom's existing 5G, artificial intelligence, advanced driver assistance service, LiDAR, and HD map technologies to develop new services.

Once T Map Mobility is created, it will then form its own subsidiary -- a joint venture with Uber -- that is yet to be named. Uber will invest $100 million into the currently unnamed joint venture with SK Telecom. 

Details of how much equity each company will own of the joint venture have not been disclosed.

Both Uber and SK Telecom already operate their own respective ride-hailing businesses in South Korea, Uber and T Map Taxi, but both lag behind Kakao Taxi, which is currently the most popular ride-sharing app.

The telco is hoping T Map Mobility will reach a valuation of 4.5 trillion won by 2025, it said.

SK Telecom has been expanding its businesses outside of its traditional wireless services, having partnered with Comcast to form a joint eSports company in October last year.

It also entered into a share exchange agreement with Kakao in that same month, saying at the time the pair would develop 5G-enabled services to improve digital content and online shopping. 

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