SK Telecom says the death of fixed-line voice is nigh

31 October 2011 | Kavit Majithia


According to local reports, Korea Telecom (KT) is set to stop all investment in fixed-line communication links and divert focus towards the development of smartphone and other mobile internet devices.

It appears KT, the largest fixed-line operator in the region, has taken the decision to stop investment in the service because the communication link continues to be exposed to a decaying business model, as consumers increase subscriber rates to mobile and other internet services. Executives at the company told local reports there is “no future in fixed line telephony,” and while noting fixed-line had contributed to the development of the nation’s development for years, it is now clearly “a thing of the past”.

The rise in VoIP services, which allows carriers to provide cheaper voice services over the internet has also led to decreasing value in fixed voice. Local reports suggest KT has added just over 10 million smartphone customers in the past year, and has just launched its new Smart Home Pad, a tablet which provides consumers an integrated platform of multimedia and internet connected services.

Data released today by South Korea’s telecoms regulator KCC reports South Korea is one of the most prominent smartphone markets in the world, with subscriber base reaching just over 20 million, meaning 40% of the population, equating to 80% of the economically active population now use a smartphone.