Sunday, June 13, 2010

South Korea: Next Big Thing in Telecom ?

So far Telecom innovation has come from Canada, US, Scandanavia and Japan ( Northern Countries)…These countries have developed vibrant Telecom Ecosystem.

Major Telecom Equipment providers (Ericsson, Nokia, NEC, Nortel, Lucent, Motorola, Fujitsu ) and Major Handset Manufacturers ( Nokia, Motorola, RIM, Apple Sony Ericsson) are from this ecosystem

This Telecom Leadership was recently challenged by China – Huawei and ZTE .

Now looks another country is accelerating its step for Telecom Leadership – South Korea
See news items of last 3 months:


Samsung plans to invest $20.6 B in developing new innovative products over next decade ( May 2010)

Korea Telecom , Intel, Samsung

Korean carrier KT , Intel and Samsung are investing in a joint venture to bring the home-grown Wibro technology to other countries. Venture would be a special purpose vehicle WiBro Investment Company (WIC) (May 2010)

Korea Telecom, Romero Peru

KT will invest $150M in Romero to develop Mobile Broadband (Apr 2010)

Korea Telecom , SK Telecom Poland

SK Telecom and KT interested in Polish cellular market particularly mobile internet, with possible stake in P4 or Polkomtel ( Mar 2010)

SK Telecom, Packet One Malaysia

SK Telecom invests in P1 Malaysia, WiMax Operator $100M for 25% Stake (May 2010)

SK Telecom , India

SK Telecom is intersted in acquiring stake in Relaince or Videocon ( Jun 2010)

Korea Telecom GS Caltex

KT and refiner GS Caltex will work together for smart grid, green energy and mobile payment businesses (May 2010)

SK Telecom Telkom Indonesia

SK Telecom signed MOU on IPE Project with Telkom Indonesia ( May 2010)

SK Telecom China

SK Telecom signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with China's top builder to jointly develop an enhanced technology city in China. (May 2010)

FTTx Household Penetration

South Korea has the highest household penetration in the world (52%) and is the first country in the world to reach over 50% of households connected to Fttx ( Apr 2010)

Cisco Biggest Home Telepresence Project in Songdo

Songdo, a green sustainable city being built from scratch in South Korea, will be a grand telepresence experiment. Songdo is being developed on 1,500 acres of reclaimed land in South Korea along Incheon’s waterfront, 40 miles from Seoul. Every home will have a Telepresence unit built in like a dishwasher by developer. Education, health care and government services will get delivered right into the home. Users don’t have to go find it. And that is how they will reduce traffic congestion and pollution in the cities. ( Jun 2010)

Is some thing going on? Can South Korea develop cluster of Telecom Ecosystem and be next big thing in Telecom ?
Best way to analyze Korea's Competitive Advantage is thru Micheal Porter Diamond’s Model
Firm Strategy, Structure and Rivalry – Dynamic Conditions for Productivity and Innovation
Demand Conditions – Demanding customer push for innovation
Related Supporting Industries – Upstream and Downstream industries
Factor Conditions – Technology, Skilled Labour, Infrastructure
Government - Catalyst and Challenger to push

Lets analyze these factors in detail

Firm Strategy

Major Operators KT and SK Telecom have realized that growth in traditional telecom industry is Korea is limited…

So both operators are looking to expand over seas (Globalization ) and expanding into other related service (Walmartization of Services) and developing complete ecosystem

SK Telecom Strategy
SK Telecom developing complete ecosystem of related service , IPE ( Industrial Productivity Enhancement ) IPE Strategy - the company will make full use of its sensing (RFID, NFC, etc.) and networking (4G, WiFi, Zigbee, etc.) technologies to help strengthen other industries so that they can ultimately experience growth in productivity - e-learning, smart automobile, smart health, e-finance, mobile workforce, distribution, logistics, housing, cleantech , smart grid, cloud computing

SK Telecom – Worlds first mobile Telematics service (MIV) launched

SK Telecom launches T smart pay services – contact less payment service which can store upto8 credit cards, 30 loaylity cards, 50 coupons

SK Telecom acquired 49% stake in credit card unit of Hana Financial Group

Now SK Telecom is looking to take this Telecom Service Ecosystem overseas and trying to partner / invest in operators world wide

Demand Conditions

Highest Penetration of FTTx Users, World wide Mobile WiMax Users , Firm Strategy of pursuing related ecosystem of Telecom Technologies in other sectors, Government initiatives of large scale Telepresence City are creating compelling demand conditions for Korea to become next big thing in Telecom

Related Supporting Industries

Korea has complete Telecom Ecosystem – Handset, Technology Provider, Global Operators

Samsung now Tops US Mobile Handset share and Number 2 Globally

Samsung is also leader is other related supporting industries
Samsung – Worlds first 3D LED TV in 2010
Samsung also has highest market share in TV, LCD Panel, Monitor, DRAM, NAND

Korea is also one of the leader in Innovation in other industries

International Patents 4th largest – 8066 patents in 2009
Local Patents 3rd Largest – 123705 in 2009

Factor Conditions

Korea has home grown technology WiBro DBM
Presence in related technology industry and global brands like Samsung, LG, Hyundai has created skilled labour in manufacturing, engineering, marketing


Telecom and Broadcasting accounts for 10% of Korean GDP
Telecom and Broadcast exports are over $120B ( 33% of Total Exports)

Telecom industry is very important for Korean Government and Government is making huge effort to act as challenger and pusher

Government has chosen WiBro, DMB, IPTV and broadcast content for their high export potential with 22 target countries were chosen for these products.

Government is offering strategic support for increasing the export volume of the four strategic products with the combined efforts of private and government organizations.

Government is promoting the overseas marketing of technology and services by hosting road shows, offering government consultation services, signing FTA in target countries in order to establish a basis for the export of Korean broadcasting and communications services.

Some of the countries where Government is helping promote Korean Telecom Export, Investment are - Jordan, Indonesia, Kazhakastan, China, Peru, Turkey, New Zealand, Vietnam, Laos, Colombia, South Africa, Ghana, Uzbekistan , India , Australia, Canada , Mexico, Poland, Paraguay, Saudi Arabia, Cambodia, Mongolia, Nigeria, Poland, Tazakhistan, Iran

Apart from above details of Telecom Industry Korea is also moving ahead full steam in Solar Power

South Korea the fourth largest market worldwide for solar-panel installations (and the largest one in Asia)

Can this interesting intersection of Telecom and Solar Power can create next big thing in Telecom ? Yes it can….

Little bit of information of my new book:


Website/ Where to buy -

Facebook Page -

A Business Fiction book - "Who is that lady?"

The book is about an idea that is converted into a billion dollar business, about a belief that an idea can be implemented and about formulating right strategy for converting an idea into a business. The plot harmoniously weaves around complex business fundamentals, required to set up, run and make a business successful, presented in lucid, easy to understand style. The novel is about implementation, about challenges that can be overcome, about success, about friendship, about passion, and about fun above all! All in all a hilarious and inspiring story on entrepreneurship and idea possibilities!

The book has got good and encouraging reviews from readers so far.

Dr. T. R. Madanmohan ( Ex Associate Professor IIM Bangalore ) says, “Reading ‘Who is that lady?’ brought vividly the moments of celebration and anguish of "identification of business opportunity", validation and construction of business model and implementation. A wonderful, written as a novel, that should be read by all current and future business leaders. Wish the book was available around 2005 for my class of Managing Technology led business at IIM Bangalore. I am sure the class would have devoured and gained much more from the book.” 

Sathish Sheshadri ( Management Consultant at IBM) says, “India is renowned for using stories to convey great life lessons. Who is that Lady could well become such a legendary story on the topic of innovation and entrepreneurship. Everyone from students to CEOs will find a lot to reflect on, from the pearls of wisdom that the authors have shared through the protagonist, Pratik.”

Major Pooja Gupta says, “The book makes you think... if there is anything in this world which is impossible.”

Subir Dhar (Principal Consultant at Infosys) says, “This book will inspire India’s restless youth to take up entrepreneurship.”

Neerav Nimesh (Entrepreneur) says, “An entertaining book, which is not only a good novel but also a very good book on management. The author has been able to explain the fundamentals of every aspect of business whether marketing, planning, strategy, organizational structure, H.R., lines of communication, team work, goal setting etc and has done so without appearing to dispense "gyan".

Website/ Where to buy -