Wireless Internet service providers are in the spotlight.
Several businesses make up one wireless Internet service product as a portal. In particular this year, as the wireless Internet network market is opened, the scope of the businesses has been expanded and the service providers are set to take the central stage in the industry.
Wireless Internet service providers have one thing in common, which is that most of them are ventured businesses. The businesses involving the wireless internet are classified into ▲solution and platform ▲content ▲billing ▲security businesses.
And solution and content business can be further sub-classified.
The wireless Internet service providers, which have been listed in Kosdaq so far, are numbered. They are GaeaSoft Corp., a provider of solution and LBS; Omnitel, a provider of mobile broadcast; and Feelingk, a developer of WAP gateway and application server solutions.
As the scope of wireless Internet business is expanded in 2003, more companies are expected to push for IPO (Initial Public Offering).
◆ Major wireless Internet service providers by the major business
Many venture companies have been supplying wireless Internet services mainly to 3 major domestic wireless carriers including SK Telecom, KTF and LG Telecom. Since the network has been operated by these operators exclusively, most of the Internet service providers have done their businesses with particular telecommunication operators.
Solution and platform developers include GaeaSoft, XCE (SK-VM), Sinjisoft (GVM), Locus (MMS Solution), Feellingk (WAP gateway and application server solution), NeoMTel (Rington downloading terminal solution), TMI (Multimedia image compression solution Wavelet), Geotel, BNS Soft, and Veloxsoft, etc.
There are several contents providers supplying various contents including game, ring-tone, fortune telling and screen display.
The ring-tone service providers include UANGEL, Danal, Infohub, Yaho, and Wiz Communications.
In particular this year, LBS (Location Based service) is emerging as the killer content. Therefore, in 2003, service providers are trying to cash in on this content by providing various value added services using information of the exact location of the users.
Thnkware supplies LBS to SK Telecom, GaeaSoft to KTF, and Ahead Mobile to LG Telecom. GaeaSoft explained, “A more sophisticated LBS will be available this year with 3G services launched. So we are developing various value added services which can be available through LBS.”
Mobile game providers include M Dream, Com2us, and M Docks; and they are closely watched by motizens.
Omnitel is the provider of mobile broadcast to 3 major wireless carriers. The company said, “When the wireless network is opened, many companies will jump into the business. Therefore, we will focus more on the mobile broadcast area to enhance our competitive edge”.
Wireless carriers explained that Telme IT (screen display), @Data (fortune telling and dream reading), In2Mobile (chatting, making friends and community), and Xeno Mobile (security, finance and shopping) are attracting attention from users.
And a billing solution provider such as nTels Co., Ltd.; and security service providers including SecureSoft Inc., Initech Co., Ltd., and IA Security are expanding their business in the wireless Internet industry.
◆ Year 2003 is the year for increasing revenue and exporting products to overseas market
GaeaSoft is planning to achieve 15 billion won in revenue. Last year it is presumed to have recorded 10 billion won in revenue and 1.2 billion won in operating profit. In particular, GaeaSoft is planning to increase its investment in LBS and to expand services.
One source close to GaeaSoft is quoted as saying, “ Full scale 3G services would make LBS further sophisticated, and many value added services can be developed.” Also he emphasized that the company will keep its focus on Telematics business that it can embrace as its new business opportunity.
In particular, solution and platform developers are expressing their interests as wired portal operators such as Daum Communications and NHN turn their eyes to the wireless Internet market. These operators would need the same equipment and technology as wireless carriers did when they ultimately jump into the wireless Internet market.
One official at a solution developer explained, “Wired portal operators’ movement into the wireless Internet means another huge wireless Internet market matching the existing wireless carriers in size. And they would need our operation technology such as network optimization to compete in the wireless Internet market.”
Omnitel is currently testing mobile broadcast solution at Mobicom, the top wireless carrier in Mongol. Mobicom has adopted GSM (European wireless telecom system). One official at Omnitel said, “the company will expand its operations into foreign markets such as China and Europe which are using GSM after the test is completed at Mobicom”.
XCE, a platform developer, already began exporting its platforms in cooperation with SK Telecom. XCE said, “This year, the company will have the export strategy established with tangible outcome,” and predicted, “Wireless internet service providers will start advancing into overseas markets this year.”
Updated date: 2003.01.03
Reporter, Jung Jong-oh, firstname.lastname@example.org