Uber Brings $150M To SK Telecom Mobility Platform, Joint Venture In Korea

SK Telecom

SK Telecom and Uber Technologies have entered into two business arrangements — one an agreement to collaborate and the other a joint venture — focusing on the ride-hailing business, SK Telecom announced on Friday (Oct. 16).

One part of the arrangement calls for SK Telecom to spin off its Mobility Business Unit to create a company called T Map Mobility. The Mobility Business Unit contains T Map and T Map Taxi.

“T Map is the largest mobility platform in Korea with around 13 million monthly active users, and T Map Taxi is the nation’s second largest taxi hailing service with 200,000 registered drivers and 750,000 monthly active users,” the company said in its news release. “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.”

Over the last several years, the company has restructured and “transformed into a tech company with four core business areas,” the release said, listing those four areas as: 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,” the firm said.

“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 subscription.”

Uber is expected to invest $50 million in the operation, according to the news release.

The separate joint venture with Uber is intended “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 release states.

The joint venture will combine T Map Mobility’s network of drivers and mapping technology with Uber’s ride-hailing technology and “global operations expertise,” the company said.

Uber will invest $100 million in the joint venture, according to the announcement.

“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,” Nelson Chai, chief financial officer of Uber, said in a prepared statement.

SK Telecom Chief Executive Park Jung-ho said the partnership will result in “greater safety for all modes of transportation.” The company “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.”