Smartphones do communication better than anything else. With the addition of one of a thousand messaging applications, they allow you to chat with your friends on any number of computer-based chat services such as AOL Instant Messenger, Windows Live, Yahoo IM, Google Talk, ICQ, MySpace IM, Facebook Chat, and more. Of course, smartphones also have their own mobile messaging applications that only work on a smartphone such as KakaoTalk and Daum's MyPeople. These mobile messaging applications are extra convenient because they scan your mobile phone's contact list and automatically match you up with all of your friends, which can save you a ton of time in adding and searching for people. KakaoTalk and MyPeople both promote unlimited text messaging, data transferring for all Korean users who pay the basic fee of KRW 55,000 won (US$ 55)! If more than half of the phone subscribers are paying only the minimum fee required to use the unlimited text messages, unlimited data transfer, and unlimited video chat services, who pays the price
With all of this matchmaking going on, all of these text messages flying around, and all of these photos and videos transferring back and forth, telecom company networks are feeling the strain. The messaging companies simply develop and sell the application, or even give it away for free. They don't have to supply any infrastructure for their services because everything is already supplied by the telecom company - the platform, the camera, the programmable API, and even the network connectivity. This has put mobile companies into the unenviable position of offering their services at rock-bottom prices and then seeing the usage of their very expensive network infrastructure go through the roof.
Faster Faster, Clear Clear!
The strength of Korean cable and the wireless infrastructure is accredited to the user's great expectation for faster Internet speeds. Lagging or disconnection- for this country's users -is intolerable. Kim Sung-man, Senior Executive Vice President and head of the Network Group at KT said, "The size and geographic condition of Korea was ideal for cable infrastructure. The wireless network is based on those cable lines. This allows for fair reception and fast-speed Internet access compared to any other country. However, the users' demand for faster speed and better reception is still on."
Metamorphosis of the Internet Ecosystem
Recall the time when the Internet was connected through ADSL. Now the Internet is all about mobility and contents, the value added businesses. "From the old generation to the young generation, the Internet is becoming part of their lives. At MB. This means investment. Telecom operators invest vast sums of money to raise the speed of the Internet, yet the fees go down due to the competition. Free Internet, free data usage, free text messages- behind the glamorous service- telecom companies face substantial loss," said Mr. Kim.
Sky is the Limit
Sky can't be the limit for the telecom operators who were too soon to provide the unlimited data usage service for smartphone users at a low basic fee. "We ourselves have a long way to go in terms of the quality improvement of wireless service. "This year, we are investing more than KRW 3 trillion and more than KRW 500 billion of it is for the development of wireless networks. Yet, we have the free riders like the application companies or service providers, and the users who are getting used to the low cost services," Kim noted. While the stock price of telecom companies shows no sign of making a killing, the government recently suggested that telecom companies are to lower the phone bill. Sky just can't be the limit for the telecom operators who are doing everything they can to save internally in order to show generosity externally.
Ain't No Country for the Ticketless Passengers So it is for the Invest-less Entrepreneurs
Only five percent of the Internet users have caused traffic and the free riders such as P2P and CDN users have occupied about 45 percent of the network capacity. Undying development of network technology must now be supported by the entrepreneurs, sharing the investment to together to improve the quality of service. "The network-business convergence is evolving every day in many different industries, however, the convergence era can only be on a roll, based on a strong infrastructure," continued Kim Sung-man, "While we are making the network itself to be cost-effective by changing the work process to be more machine oriented, social agreement must be made to share investment and together strengthen infrastructure."