SEOUL, KOREA — Scenario. TRS Phone Usage: Sergeant Kim stands guard to protect the livelihoods of Korea’s coastal fishing community day by day.
As usual, Sergeant Kim Ji-Soo headed out into rough seas in a Korea coast guard vessel to rescue Korean fisherman from danger and police the West Sea. At 10 o’clock in the morning, Sergeant Kim noticed something fishy was going on 81 kilometers off the southwestern coast of So-cheong Island in Ong-jin County. Immediately, Sergeant Kim sent out an SOS signal via his TRS (Trunked Radio Service) phone. In no time, thousands of West Sea coast guard officers got the TRS signals. Only a couple of seconds were consumed for the entire process.
Upon receiving the SOS signal, coast guard headquarters dispatched a team of armed forces to the troubled sea area to capture two Chinese fishing vessels that were fishing illegally in an exclusive economic zone (EEZ). At the time of the capture, the two Chinese fishing vessels were found to have fished 3 tons of northern sand lances in South Korean waters. Four days before the incident, West Sea coast guard officers seized two Chinese fishing boats that were illegally fishing in an EEZ, 51 kilometers off the southwestern coast of Ong-jin county.
Sergeant Kim who everyday polices the sea areas more than 30 kilometers off the coast of the island always carries his TRS phone with him. This is because of the convenience of his TRS phone’s PTT (Push to Talk) function that has been provided by KTpowertel, Korea’s only TRS (Trunked Radio System) spectrum telecommunication operator. Compared to general two-way radios (or walkie talkies) that come with limited range, KT Powetel’s TRS service guarantees nationwide coverage. Besides, its service allows users to freely set groups, so this service is suitable for event coordinators and those who have to control a group of people.
Sergeant Kim said, “Since the TRS phone’s PTT (Push to talk) function allows me to find out the locations of emergencies and our coast guard officers, it is a vital communications tool when things need to be dealt with immediately.” The PTT service is typical of TRS services. Push to Talk (PTT) is a walkie talkie type service that allows subscribers to instantly reach others by getting rid of the dialing and ringing steps in a regular cellular call. A typical push to talk connection connects almost instantly. PTT allows a single person to reach an active talk group with a single button press; users do not need to make several calls to coordinate with a group. Thanks to such features, TRS phone were picked as an indispensable security device during numerous large-scale, security-heavy events - such as the G20 Summit Meeting in Seoul, the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit, the 13th IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Daegu, etc. Nearly 1,300 TRS phones were put to use during the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit on March 26 and 27, 2012.
On the corporate front, KTpowertel’s TRS service is also often used for business communications, especially in the logistics industry, where speedy responses are all-important to prevent customers suffering from either network disruptions or equipment errors. Also, as KTpowertel’s TRS service promises swift and smooth communications, it comes in handy when natural disasters such as torrential rainfalls or heavy storms sweep through the service area.
TRS Services Can Be Exploited in a Variety of Industrial Fields
KTpowertel’s TRS service, which only requires a subscriber’s one button press for simultaneous calls to thousands of people, features nationwide radio communications services. A general mobile phone subscriber has to make a thousand calls or text messages to send the same message to a thousand people. However, TRS subscribers can do the same job with a single phone call. Backed by ultra-speediness and cost effectiveness, the efficiency of KTpowertel’s TRS service has unrivalled strengths compared with its rivals.
One of KTpowertel’s major market groups is large-sized companies, where the strengths of TRS phones’ PTT function can be fully utilized. KTpowertel’s TRS phones have already proved their worth in industrial sites: they have been continuously used in auto and semiconductor production lines, heavy industry production sites, etc.
KTpowertel’s TRS service has already been regarded as a vital communications tool in the taxi and logistics markets, as evidenced by the fact that approximately 80,000 TRS phones have been in use at freight call centers. Recently, KTpowertel’s TRS service, packed with a built-in GPS navigation system and on board data services, has been provided as a taxi control solution, which is viewed as the optimum communications solution by many. On top of that, KTpowertel’s TRS phones find favor with large-scale discount stores, logistics markets, leisure industries and even public institutions. Since the logistics market led by large-scale discount stores runs business units nationwide, TRS services have been widely used for various business calls aimed at speedy wireless communications within business units, conference calls between different business units and rapid inventory shipments.
KTpowertel’s TRS service is also very popular in the leisure industry, such as golf courses, hotels and resorts. Golf courses and resorts are generally too large to manage people on the ground with the help of general handheld transceivers (or walkie-talkies), so KTpowertel’s TRS service is put into good use. It makes possible efficient communications on large fields. Once KTpowertel’s TRS service is connected to interphone networks through fixed and wireless communications solutions, KTpowertel’s TRS service will grow much further in efficiency. On the public front, KTpowertel’s TRS service has been gradually taken advantage of.
As KTpowertel offers mobile phone services with the cell phone prefix "0130”; TRS wireless services; and SMS services for TRS subscribers at the same time, TRS subscribers can catch two birds with one stone: TRS subscribers can use their TRS phones as general mobile phones in normal times and turn them into TRS phones under special circumstances such as emergencies and business meetings. Furthermore, KTpowertel’s TRS service is used by emergency medical centers (about 3,000 TRS phones) and Korea coast guard officiers (nearly 6,000 TRS phones).
The World’s First TRS Smartphone Will Come out in the Second Half of This Year
This year, KTpowertel is poised to take a new giant step forwards with its TRS smartphone. At ‘the International iDEN Operators Forum (IiOF),’ a global membership of iDEN carriers held on May 7 in Mississippi in the Southern United States, KTpowertel announced that it teamed up with Motorola to develop dual band dual mode TRS smartphones (DBDM TRS smartphone or TRS smartphone) which supports both TRS services and 3G networks. IiOF was taken part in by 24 iDEN carriers around the world. At IiOF, KTpowertel introduced its Android-based smartphone that comes with support for the iDEN network which is one of TRS network and WCDMA 3G network at the same time. As the world’s first attempt by KTpowertel to combine radio communications with smartphones is being made in tandem with ongoing drastic changes in the Korean mobile phone market where more than half of the Korean subscribers use smartphones, KTpowertel’s future moves get much attention in the world.
KTpowertel has already launched a service called “Duall” which integrates TRS and 3G mobile communications (WCDMA: Wideband Code Division Multiple Access). The TRS smartphone, scheduled to be released in the latter half of this year, will be an upgraded version of the existing TRS phone. Simply put, KTpowertel’s TRS smartphone is a smartphone with a radio communications function attached. Thus, varied wireless Internet services will be added to the existing TRS phone functions including group / individual radio communications. A case in point is TRS smartphone “Motorola i1(Handset model name)” that was released last year by KTpowertel, especially for businesses and logistics services.
Lee Sang-hong, CEO and President of KTpowertel, mentioned, “ Thanks to KTpowertel’s smartphone, subscribers can enjoy KTpowertel’s nationwide TRS and 3G mobile phone services at the same time. Besides, the smartphone is Android-based, so a multitude of applications can be used for all kinds of businesses.” Backed by knowhow on TRS service operation, KTpowertel plans to make a foray into overseas markets. It is currently pondering over possible ways of overseas market entry: in cooperation with a partner, KTpowertel is conducting a feasibility study of a communications network project by a national police agency in Papua New Guinea, an island nation in Oceania.
Successful Commercialization of the TRS Smartphone Makes KTpowertel a Full-Blown Wireless Telecommunications Operator
KTpowertel is set to take on the TRS smartphone market in a proactive manner. Beyond simply assembling products, KTpowertel is preparing to enter the telecommunications market for corporate customers where smartphones are heavily utilized. To that end, CEO Lee drastically reshuffled his organization right after his inauguration as CEO in March, 2012. Under his leadership, KTpowertel shifted its business focus to on-field sales activities. A taskforce dedicated to doing business with corporate customers was set up and company-specific optimum sales systems were created. In addition, 11 local branches were integrated into four regional headquarters and sales organizations were reorganized into ones that are put under regional managers’ control. In other words, KTpowertel’s sales activities became more market-oriented.
CEO Lee said, “KTpowertel TRS’s one-to-many communications excel in speediness and cost effectiveness. The market for TRS has a great potential for growth. The potential market for TRS includes logistics, leisure and public institutions.” CEO Lee’s strategy is to lure in new corporate subscribers to broaden KTpowertel’s subscriber base. KTpowertel has a reason for such strategy. That is because market demands have greatly changed. CEO Lee explained, “Once the TRS smartphone market get bigger, a range of solutions for businesses can be released along with simple TRS services. In a situation where 70% to 80% of the Korean subscribers carry smartphones, KTpowertel, armed with TRS smartphones, will vigorously search for new niche markets in line with fast-changing market demands.”
In 1985, KTpowertel (then known as Korea Port Telephone Co.), part of KT Corporation, a Korean integrated wired / wireless telecommunication service provider, was established. It launched analog TRS services in 1991 and emerged as a TRS carrier by commercializing digital TRS services nationwide in 1997. Starting from 2000, KTpowertel expanded its business into mobile phones and wireless data services to entrench itself as a total wireless communications service purveyor. KTpowertel has continued to release an array of company-specific, customized additional services and finally launched the “Duall” service in 2009. Ever-changing KTpowertel is well positioned to unveil its new TRS smartphone in August of this year. Once its TRS smartphone is successfully commercialized, KTpowertel will grow into a bona fide wireless communications service provider. CEO Lee said, “Existing communications services simply offer basic communications services to a plethora of people to enable person-to-person communications. KTpowertel’s future services will go beyond simple one-on-one communications. They will serve as an advanced communications tool for businesses that promises the provision of information and value creation.” CEO Lee stressed, “KTpowertel will evolve into a customized wireless communications service operator who thinks in corporate subscribers’ shoes to offer company-specific customized services.”
Last year, KTpowertel announced 368,377 in the total number of subscribers, about KRW 127 billion in sales, about KRW 17.5 billion in operating profits and KRW 14.5 billion in net profit. In consideration of Korea’s worsening management environment, such figures are indeed splendid. This year, KTpowertel aims to take the total subscriber number to 387,377 and the last year’s sales figure to KRW 146 billion.
In search of new markets, KTpowertel pins a high hope on the TRS smartphone, slated for release in the second half of this year. In tandem with the release of the TRS smartphone, KTpowertel is ramping up its investment in a project designed to expand service coverage. The first round of the project was completed in the Seoul metropolitan areas and areas near highways and the second round will be completed in the first half of this year to widen its service coverage in a total of 30 areas and improve the quality of calls. As evidenced by the fact that KTpowertel’s services are employed by national coast guard officers as official communications tools nationwide, KTpowertel’s services boast unparalleled sea-based networks. Compared with other communications networks that enable communication within a radius of 30 km, KT Powertel’s services allow phone calls over 50 kilometers off coast. Thus, marine operations and responses to emergencies will be sped up via KTpowertel’s services. As a result, KTpowertel, based on its wide maritime coverage, looks to attract more marine-based entities into its customer pool.