SK Telecom’s Global Ambitions

[SK Telecom], the biggest mobile carrier in the country, is determined to establish itself as a major player in the world’s most influential consumer market. Moreover, a technological fit between the two makes Sprint a most coveted takeover target.

…the company doesn’t hide its U.S. ambition. “We have been exploring and seeking opportunities to expand our business in the U.S. and other overseas markets,” says spokesman Weon Hong Sik. A U.S. credit crunch, declining asset value, and Sprint’s worsening balance sheet have prompted SK Telecom to accelerate its drive to expand its beachhead in the U.S.

…SK Telecom certainly needs to be looking abroad, given the limited growth prospects at home. It already controls about half of Korea’s crowded mobile-phone market, which has little room for expansion. More than 90% of Koreans are cellular users, up from just under 70% in 2002. That’s why, says SK Telecom Chief Executive Officer Kim Shin Bae, the company’s emphasis is on developing data services and expanding overseas.

Seoul Digital City

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