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S. Korean telcos launch mobile communications platform

SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus release joint integrated platform, which touts the ability to allow users to message, call and send files to other subscribers regardless of network or device.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

Three South Korean telcos are collaborating to introduce a new communications platform which would reportedly allow subscribers to message, call and send files to other users. This would help them compete better against popular third-party mobile messaging services such as Kakao Talk and Whatsapp.

According to a report by Yonhap News Agency Tuesday, SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus have each launched separate rich communication suites (RCS) but will integrate these platforms under industry body GSMA's "joyn" brand. With this interoperable platform, users can communicate via different media formats regardless of network and device, it noted.

For SK Telecom, the main features of its joyn.T platform are the Rich Call, Rich Messaging and Rich Phonebook functions. In a press release Wednesday, the telco said user can enjoy live video sharing and send image files and map locations during a Rich Call session, for example. The platform has also integrated SMS with instant messaging services into a single application to avoid "causing customer inconvenience", it added.

The Rich Phonebook feature allows users to check the presence of contacts in their mobile device's address book, and it is linked to their friends social networking services and e-mail address, the telco stated. 

South Korean subscribers can now download the joyn.T app for free at SK Telecom's app store.

SK Telecom added: "Customers holding one of 22 different types of Android OS 2.3, or Gingerbread, smartphones can use the service by downloading the free application from T Store. Moreover, further upgraded versions of Android OS will also provide the joyn.T feature. In addition, joyn.T application for Apple's iOS will be launched early next year."

The operator also plan to launch an upgraded joyn.T 2.0 in 2013, and will extend the service to PC clients in the first quarter of next year, it added.

This move from the South Korean operators is timely for customer retention, given the increased adoption of third-party mobile messaging services such as WhatsApp and Kakao Talk among consumers.

In fact, the locally-developed Kakao Talk announced earlier this month its number of subscribers has exceeded 70 million, and users' average time on the platform hit 43 minutes per day, according to The Korea Times.

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