SEOUL, South Korea — Sony Ericsson, the world's fourth largest mobile phone maker, seeks to make inroads into the South Korean market and is negotiating with SK Telecom, South Korea's top mobile telecommunications service provider.
A spokeswoman for SK Telecom said Thursday (Dec. 28) the company is in talks on a mobile phone deal with Sony Ericsson as the Japanese-Swedish joint venture has agreed to adopt WIPI (Wireless Internet Platform for Interoperability), South Korea's home-made standard specifications for mobile platform, on its products.
"We are now negotiating with Sony Ericsson on the possibility of our purchase of the company's mobile phones but no details, including the timing and the volume involved in the deal, have not yet been decided," the spokeswoman told EE Times, declining to comment further. Sony Ericsson could not immediately be reached for comment.
But local news reports here quoted industry sources as saying Sony Ericsson is expected to introduce its premium mobile phone models such as Walkman phones and CyberShot phones during the second half of next year at the earliest.
If realized, the Sony Ericsson move is expected to generate more fierce competition in the South Korean market, which is dominated by local handset brands such as Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, the world's No. 3 and No. 5 handset makers.
Currently, Motorola is the only foreign brand selling here. The world's top handset maker, Nokia, entered the South Korean market in 2002 but failed to appeal to the Korean customers and exited the market in early 2003.
South Korea is one of the most attractive handset markets around the world, with about 40 million out of a population of more than 48 million carrying a mobile phone. South Korean consumers prefer high-end and sophisticated phones equipped with advanced multimedia functions.
During the third quarter of this year, Sony Ericsson brands accounted for 7.8 percent of the global mobile phone market, outpacing LG Electronics with 6.5 percent, according to industry research figures.