Mobile content, plus offshore expansion, is SK Telecom's formula for growth. Vice president Choong Lai Cho speaks to Robert Clark
Telecom Asia: Congratulations on winning the Best Carrier award for the second year in a row. What have been the highlights of the past 12 months‾
Choong Lai Cho: First of all, I'd like to say that we are honored to have received such great recognition and would like to especially thank our customers for their dedication and support.
The past year was a monumental year for SK Telecom in many aspects.In the domestic market, SK Telecom continued its growth as the lead operator in Korea by reaching a gross of 20 million subscribers.We also launched the world's first handset-based HSDPA service in May. The 3.5G service allows users to experience video calling, high speed data transmission, efficient world roaming and various convergent services.
SK Telecom also demonstrated significant success in our global operations.In Vietnam, under the S-Fone brand, we increased subscribers to more than 1.5 million, while in the US, we launched a joint MVNO company, Helio, securing the potential for future growth. We also strengthened business opportunities in China by investing in $1 billion convertible bonds and forming a strategic alliance with China Unicom. Also, SK Telecom entered a full cooperation agreement with the Chinese government for the TD-SCDMA test-bed development project.
Korea is a well-served mobile market, with penetration over 80%. What will you need to do to stay ahead in that market‾
SK Telecom will strive to maintain market leadership by continuously providing new and human-based services that cater to the needs of our subscribers.Our success in our mobile music portal service, MelOn, is one good example of how our efforts to develop new convergent models have borne fruit.
We will focus on the research and development of new and convergent wireless business models that can lead not only in Korea but also in the global market. With the success in the wireless market at home, we hope to strategically expand into the global stage. As our international markets represent key drivers for sustained growth, SK Telecom will strengthen existing global businesses and also build on appropriate opportunities for substantial growth.
Internally, we will promote our "Creative Innovation Culture" throughout the company to enhance employee capabilities and achieve sustainable growth.