SKT partners with Uber for Mobility Innovation

SK Telecom (“SKT”) has announced that it decided to establish a specialized company in the mobility business (provisionally named “T Map Mobility”) at the board of directors meeting held recently.

T Map Mobility will form a joint venture with Uber Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: UBER, hereinafter referred to as “Uber”), the world’s largest mobility platform company, to drive growth in the e-hailing market in Korea.

Establishment of a T Map Mobility Company

SKT plans to launch T Map Mobility within this year by splitting off its Mobility Business Unit, which is in charge of services including T Map and T Map Taxi.

T Map is the largest mobility platform in Korea with around 13 million monthly active users (MAU), and T Map Taxi is the nation’s second largest taxi hailing service with 200,000 registered drivers and 750,000 monthly active users (MAU). In addition, the Unit provides other mobility services such as T Map Auto, T Map Public Transportation and T Map Parking, all of which will be continued by T Map Mobility.

The extraordinary general meeting of shareholders will be held on November 26, 2020 and the date of the split-off will be December 29, 2020, subject to shareholder approval.

With the establishment of T Map Mobility, SKT will be well-structured to achieve innovation and strengthen competitiveness in the mobility industry. SKT plans to secure funding for T Map Mobility by attracting investment from external investors.

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 (SK Broadband, Wavve, Dreamus Company), Security (ADT Caps, SK Infosec) and Commerce (11 Street, SK Stoa). Now, mobility has also become a core business for SKT and is expected to generate synergies with its other businesses.

T Map Mobility will focus on four main mobility businesses: T Map-based platform business in areas of parking, advertising and usage-based insurance (UBI); T Map Auto services such as in-vehicle infotainment and in-car payment; on-demand mobility services such as taxi-hailing and designated driver services; and all-in-one Mobility as a Service (MaaS) that offers diverse means of transportation at discounted rates through sub_scription.

T Map Mobility also aspires to bring the “future of mobility” to Korea across various advanced technologies including vertical take-off and landing (VTOL). In doing so, it will leverage SKT’s 5G, AI, and T Map capabilities to offer optimal route planning; three-dimensional HD mapping for high-altitude geographic features; and intelligent air traffic control systems for VTOL aircraft.

SKT expects T Map Mobility, valued at approximately KRW 1 trillion, to grow into a company worth KRW 4.5 trillion by 2025.

Joint Venture with Uber

SKT and Uber have also agreed to create a world-class mobility platform through a newly-formed joint venture that will create opportunities in the taxi-hailing market in Korea and explore new areas, including future mobility services.

The joint venture will promote the e-hailing business in Korea by combining T Map Mobility’s network of drivers and mapping technology with Uber’s ride hailing technology and global operations expertise.

Uber will invest over USD 100 million in the joint venture. Moreover, Uber will invest around USD 50 million in T Map Mobility to strengthen the strategic partnership between SKT and Uber. This will bring Uber’s total investment amount to over USD 150 million.

Subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval, the joint venture is expected to begin operations, and Uber is expected to invest in T Map Mobility, in the first half of 2021.

“Korea was one of Uber’s first international markets, and we are committed to fully realizing its potential. Through our strong partnership with SKT, we will expand access to ride hailing services in the country, and bring better service to riders and drivers. We look forward to serving the South Korean market in the years ahead,” said Nelson Chai, Chief Financial Officer of Uber.

“Together with Uber, the world’s top mobility platform company, we will turn customer’s time and money spent on mobility into time used for more valuable purposes and realize greater safety for all modes of transportation,” said Park Jung-ho, CEO of SKT. “To this end, we will work closely with companies with diverse capabilities to address current challenges in transportation, and ultimately usher in a new era of future mobility technologies such as flying cars.”