SEOUL, June 1 (Korea Bizwire) – The Big Three Korean telecommunications companies (SKT, KT and LG Uplus) have consolidated their in-house mobile app stores into a single entity called ONE store. The service took off Wednesday with mixed expectations about its ability to offer a compelling challenge to Google.
Prior users of the T Store (SKT), olleh Market (KT), and U+ Market (LG Uplus) can simply upgrade their respective applications to use the new service. Naver’s app store users are also expected to use the new service. Naver sold its app store operations to ONE store for 4.5 billion won in April.
The number of initial users of the ONE store is expected to surpass 30 million.
Currently, the Google Play Store leads the mobile application market with a 50 percent market share, followed by the Apple Store with 30 percent. ONE store’s short-term goal is to achieve a market share of 40 percent within the next four years.
ONE store is Android-based and is not compatible with iOS, which makes Google its biggest competitor. Google’s market share for Android applications is 75 percent, and ONE store still falls far behind.
T Store has a 10 percent market share for Android applications, followed by the Naver N Store’s 8 percent, and 4 percent each for olleh Market and U+ Market.
To overcome the apparent handicap, ONE store plans to differentiate its services by diversifying payment methods, offering discounts, and improving customer benefits.
“The consolidated app store is the result of long and strenuous efforts between the Big Three companies and Naver,” said an industry official. “It’s well worth it to see if ONE store will be able to put up a good fight against the mighty Google.”
By Joseph Shin (firstname.lastname@example.org)