Before the smartphone market in South Korea started booming in 2007 there was skepticism about whether there is enough demand from Korean consumers for internet-capable smartphones, given that they can easily have internet access at PC Rooms located within a five-minute walk in any city. After Samsung “Blackjack”’s great success in both of corporate and consumer smartphone markets and the abolition of the WIPI requirement, which will be active in April 2009, Korean mobile phone operators have been eager to expand their lineup of smartphones, especially including foreign handset makers such as RIM’s BlackBerry and Apple’s iPhone.
One of the most persuasive reasons why mobile phone operators are moving aggressively to boost the smartphone market is that they can increase their ARPU, average revenue per user, through increased mobile data sales. As voice ARPU continues to decline, mobile phone operators try to offset the loss in voice ARPU by increasing the volume of data traffic. For that reason, smartphone becomes recognized as a new growth engine in order for them to boost their ARPU in that it creates a new revenue segment, which is a corporate market and contributes to the growth in data sales.