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SKT to spin off mobility business, build joint venture with Uber


SK Telecom announced Friday that the company would spin off its mobility platform and start a new joint venture with US ride-hailing company Uber Technologies.

SKT plans to spin off the unit by Dec. 29, according to the regulatory filing. The company’s shareholders would vote on the plan at a general meeting scheduled on Nov. 26.

In the spinoff, tentatively named T map Mobility, Uber will invest around $50 million, according to the telecommunications firm.

The South Korean telecommunications firm expected the corporate value of the T map Mobility to reach some 1 trillion won. The company added it would make the value to grow at 4.5 trillion won by 2025.

SKT said it would also initiate a joint venture with Uber during the first half next year. According to the firm, Uber plans to invest around $100 million in this new firm. Uber will take 51 percent share of the joint venture, while SK Telecom will hold the remaining.

This joint venture is expected to launch a new taxi-hailing service by combining T map Mobility’s local map data, navigation technology and taxi service with Uber’s experience in the mobility sector, as well as technologies including its predictive models that allow users to calculate real-time traffic patterns and travel time.

SKT’s T map service currently has 12.5 million monthly active users. The telecommunications firm’s taxi service using the map application also has secured 750,000 monthly users to date -- the second largest service in the nation after that of Kakao.

SKT said the joint venture will also develop different types mobility services, including usage-based insurance and in-vehicle Infotainment systems. SKT added it would seek partnerships with local automakers to have its mobility solution built in their vehicles, the company added.

Meanwhile, SKT said the new joint venture would invest resources to take the lead in the future mobility sector. The joint venture will develop new navigation system, 3D mapping technology and smart traffic control systems that could enable flying car services in urban areas, SKT said.

By Shim Woo-hyun (