Almost twelve months after Vodafone Spain became the first mobile operator to officially launch Joyn, South Korea’s SK Telecom has announced a fairly impressive 1 million users for its Joyn.T service, just 50 days after it was launched in December 2012.
SKT is the first of the seven operators that have launched Joyn services in four countries in the past twelve months to have announced user numbers, though it has not stated what proportion of the 1 million Joyn.T subscribers are active users.
The operator made the Joyn.T Android application available for download from its T Store, but mobile subscribers can also download it from Google Play, from where the application had between 10,000-50,000 downloads in the 30 days to February 19, 2012.
The announcement is timely for the GSM Association, given that it comes the week before the industry body’s Mobile World Congress, where Rich Communications Suite (RCS), and Joyn in particular, will likely be a key focus.
The SKT numbers also give Joyn a much-needed boost, coming as it does within weeks of Deutsche Telekom being forced to issue a clarification about its delayed launch of Joyn services in Germany. DT said that an error in translation resulted in the reporting of an “indefinite delay” in the launch of Joyn in Germany, which was originally scheduled for December 2012, when in fact the operator had simply declined to state a new launch date. Informa understands that DT is currently conducting a sizeable user trial of the live service on its network, and that a launch is imminent.
According to SKT, the GSMA said that the success of its Joyn.T launch will likely accelerate the commercialization of Joyn globally. Joyn services are already available from mobile operators in Spain (Vodafone, Telefonica and Orange), Germany (Vodafone) and the US (MetroPCS), as well as from SKT rivals LG Uplus and KT Freetel.
The GSMA stated at Informa’s Rich Communications event in Berlin in November that 30 operators in 18 countries had committed to launching Joyn services, not all of which were opcos of operators that have already launched services. However, by Informa’s own reckoning, just 10 operators (and their subsidiaries) are planning launches on 24 networks in an additional 16 countries, not including Spain, Germany, the US and South Korea, where services have already launched.
Most recently, it’s been reported that Singapore’s Starhub is working with partner network Vodafone on a Joyn launch, scheduled for 2H13. It is likely that Starhub’s Joyn service will make use of Vodafone’s hosted RCS capability, with Vodafone recently stating that it is already helping seven partner and competitor networks deploy RCS-based services, with another seven networks and a mobile operator with a group of 13 networks in the pipeline.