20050818

Cyworld and Nespot, WMD and WWF

The day SKT announced mobile Cyworld's millionth subscriber, KT celebrated Nespot's 500,000th client.
Cyworld mobile was doomed to succeed : it took almost one year to reach the 500,000 mark (last Feb), but about half this time to double the score. SKT target 1,5M users end 2005, of which 800,000 "active" (vs 600,000 now, an active user being defined as having used the service in the past 30 days). They could do even better considering this crowd would be equivalent to less than 10% of all Cyworld users - plus mobile videoblogs have not been launched yet. Anyway, "Dotori"s keep flying over the air : Cyworld's virtual currency was already stronger than your classic loyalty program's miles, it is now becoming a perfect and not-so-informal complement to SKT's WMDs (Weapons of M-banking Domination : Moneta & co).
KT are also strenghtening their positions in the mobile arena through key "fixed" assets but significantly, while SKT's entry points usually depend on customer centric services, KT's more often rely on offer-creates-demand-hardware-and-network-based solutions. Nespot took about 3.5 years to hit the half-a-million spot (a World record for 802.11b access services) : launched in feb 2002, it claimed 502,031 subscribers on August the 16th, 2005 thanks to an impressive army of 13,222 hotspots. But the fixed incumbent plans to reach 170,000 areas by the end of the year, put Blackberry in its Swing phones and launch new W-LAN-based home networking applications*. I wonder whether KT expect to multiply by 12 their Nespot customer base or consider locking key locations for other technologies as well (Wibro ? HSDPA ? HSUPA ? all of the above 2Mbps ?).


* Like KTF a few weeks ago, KT picked a pet-centric app to make it sweeter to the eyes of the public - as far as acronyms are concerned, their PR teams must be more familiar with WWF than MBA.



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