SK Telecom (NYSE: SKM) announced today that it signed an agreement with Google Inc. to strengthen Android Market in Korea. The signing ceremony, held at Google headquarters located in Mountain View, California, was attended by SK Telecom’s Executive Vice President Bae Joon-Dong and Google’s Vice President Andy Rubin.
The agreement includes provisions to cooperate on launching carrier billing for Android Market, setting up the Company Channel and supporting Android application developers.
Introducing Carrier Billing for Android Market
As part of the agreement, SK Telecom and Google plan to launch carrier billing for purchases made on Android Market. With the introduction of carrier billing, SK Telecom users will be able to pay for Android Market content by having fees charged directly to their monthly mobile bills.
Once introduced, carrier billing will allow SK Telecom users to buy applications quickly and conveniently, and will require no credit cards. The company’s customers will be able to purchase applications and have the expense added to their monthly bills. Moreover, applications will be priced in the local currency (Korean Won) to prevent any confusion stemming from foreign exchange rate fluctuations.
Carrier billing will make it easier for users to purchase paid applications, enabling customers to choose from a wide range of applications and developers to benefit from expanded business opportunities.
Deploying Company Channel in Android Market
SK Telecom announced plans to introduce and recommend useful applications for their subscribers by rolling out a SK Telecom channel on the main page of Android Market. The company said this will enable SK Telecom’s Android phone users to discover high quality applications most relevant to their interests.
SK Telecom said, “As the largest wireless carrier in Korea, SK Telecom is in a unique position to help our customers discover and enjoy high-quality applications that best suit their needs. The Company Channel will help provide an even richer application experience for Korean customers.”
As of July 2010, the total number of applications on the Android Market stands at around 70,000, up from 50,000 just two months earlier. Moreover, the number of paid applications available to customers continues to grow at a rapid pace.
Supporting Android Application Developers
SK Telecom plans to strengthen its efforts to support developers by establishing the Open Innovation Center. Its previous efforts include application contests and the operation of T Academy.
“Korea is a sophisticated market with tech-savvy consumers,” Andy Rubin, Google’s Vice President of Engineering, said. “We’re pleased to work with SK Telecom to expand access to the applications on Android Market in Korea.
SK Telecom’s Executive Vice President Bae Joon-Dong said, “This agreement between SK Telecom and Google highlight’s SK Telecom role in playing the leading role in boosting the Android Market in Korea. SK Telecom will make redoubled efforts to increase wireless data and applications usage in Korea by emphasizing the benefits of an open operating system. It is expected that such efforts will provide SK Telecom’s customers with a more convenient and exciting experience in the Android ecosystem.”
Source: Korea IT Times