|A model promotes SK Telecom's T Map navigation service. SK Telecom said Friday it will spin off its mobility platform business that will set up a joint venture with Uber. / Courtesy of SK Telecom|
By Baek Byung-yeul
SK Telecom said Friday it will spin off its "mobility platform" business that will forge a joint venture with the U.S.-based ride-hailing company Uber Technologies.
The mobile carrier said its board made the decision Thursday. The spin-off firm will be called T Map Mobility and take over SK Telecom's mobility services such as T Map, a navigation service platform, and T Map Taxi, a taxi-booking service.
T Map is the largest mobility platform in Korea and has about 13 million monthly users. T Map Taxi is the nation's second-largest taxi-hailing service. It has 200,000 registered drivers and 750,000 monthly users.
Other services such as T Map Auto, T Map Public Transportation and T Map Parking will be continued by T Map Mobility, SK Telecom said. The company aims to increase the value of T Map Mobility to 4.5 trillion won by 2025.
The joint venture with Uber is designed to drive growth in the ride-hailng market here.
"Uber will invest over $100 million in the joint venture," SK Telecom said. "Moreover, Uber will invest around $50 million in T Map Mobility to strengthen the strategic partnership between SKT and Uber. This will bring Uber's total investment amount to $150 million."
SK Telecom CEO Park Jung-ho said: "Together with Uber, the world's top mobility platform company, we will turn customers' time and money spent on mobility into time used for more valuable purposes and realize greater safety for all modes of transportation."
In a bid to transform into what it calls a "total ICT" (information and communication technology) company from just a mobile carrier, the company has been spinning off its business units and trying to attract investments.
"Over the past few years, SKT has successfully restructured its business portfolio and transformed into a tech company with four core business areas: mobile communications, media, security and commerce," the company said. "Now, mobility has also become a core business for SKT and is expected to generate synergies with its other businesses."