Light Reading

SK Telecom Gives Dialing a Makeover

Sarah Thomas
2/27/2014
50%
50%

BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress -- SK Telecom was not only the first operator to reinvent how voice calling sounds with its voice-over-LTE launch, but it is also the first to reinvent how it looks with its new dialer for Android. (See South Korea Hears First 4G Voice Service.)

SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM) is calling the dialer makeover, T-Phone, the first innovative dialer built by an operator, which is probably a fair statement as the native interface has remained static even while fancier over-the-top alternatives have emerged. Silver Ryu, the manager of SK Telecom's product planning division, also told Light Reading at MWC that it's the first time an operator has worked this closely with handset makers -- Samsung Corp. and LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) -- to develop such a service.

T-Phone Calling
Silver Ryu, manager of the product planning division at SK Telecom, shows off T-Phone, the carrier's reinvented Android dialer.
Silver Ryu, manager of the product planning division at SK Telecom, shows off T-Phone, the carrier's reinvented Android dialer.

T-Phone has a much more fun, accessible appearance than your standard dialer. Some of the new enhancements include widgets for the top 12 people called on the home screen, call forwarding, and a dashboard to keep track of voice minutes and data used.

T-Phone is an open platform, so the carrier is working with third parties to continue to enhance it. One of the early examples is a spam feature, which Ryu said a developer built using SK's APIs. When an unknown number calls, a ranking will show up indicating how likely it is to be spam. At the end of calls, the user is asked to rank the caller to help make this more accurate.

SK has also integrated its T-Map, which Ryu said is the most popular mobile navigation service in South Korea, so that when a call is received, the phone automatically searches the T-Map database of one million companies and stores to display their information directly on the contact page.

Ryu said SK Telecom developed the dialer to, first of all, show telcos can do innovation, and, more importantly, prevent customers from churning. An ultimate goal, however, is to monetize it. SK Telecom is already working on offering retailers and restaurants opportunities to market themselves by, for example, having a picture pop up when they call a customer.

The South Korean operator plans to license the software for its dialer to other operators, who are bound to follow suit. It's a sleek design, an improved experience, and a potential way to make money without charging customers. But, more importantly, they'll follow suit because where SK Telecom goes, the rest of the world typically follows -- albeit, months, even years, later.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(10)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Michelle
50%
50%
Michelle,
User Rank: Moderator
2/27/2014 | 10:27:56 PM
Re: Looks good
@Carol I would be happy to have a spam filter. I don't get a lot of phone spam but it would still be nice to get less.

I wonder how often email spam filters are used to silently (and permanently ) ignore incoming messages from former friends or exes.
mhhf1ve
50%
50%
mhhf1ve,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/27/2014 | 6:05:57 PM
Re: Looks good
There are actually a handful of phone number forwarding systems that allow you to block incoming calls based on phone numbers and whitelist/blacklist spam settings. Interestingly, not many telecoms offer these features. It's usually offered by various VOIP services. 
mhhf1ve
50%
50%
mhhf1ve,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/27/2014 | 6:02:53 PM
Re: Looks good

I've never had good luck with voice dialing. You see it catching on?

I have never seen a voice dialer that was better/faster than my fingers. It works (sometimes) if you only have a few contacts that you dial frequently (and they all have distinctly different sounding voice tags). But once you know two contacts named Dave Something (or Jenn Something), the accuracy gets annoying.

Has Siri really "caught on" for anything other than its novelty? I'm not sure Google Now is that useful either... Maybe I'll be wrong. I do remember when Google had its 1-800-GOOG-411 service, and that was okay, but not exactly a replacement for dialing. Voice menu systems are really only useful when you can't use your hands for some reason (like maybe you're driving).

SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
2/27/2014 | 1:06:27 PM
Re: Looks good
Haha, good point, Carol. I wonder if there's reprocussions for a company that gets a bunch of spam ratings. Hopefully they would block that number for you. It's surprisingly hard to do on your own.
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
2/27/2014 | 11:22:14 AM
Re: What Sparkle said...
Yeah, that was interesting and helps make it a much more integrated experience. I wonder how willing the handset makers are to doing stuff like this. Is is that the operators haven't asked before?
Phil_Britt
50%
50%
Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/27/2014 | 11:03:49 AM
Re: Looks good
I don't use voice dialing myself -- I sitll use my VOIP phone in my office for most of my calls. But if I was remote a lot I would. I find it much easier to use my Bluetooth headset than holding phone to my ear. If my Bluetooth is unavailable, I much prefer the speaker. Again, I suffer from fat finger diseases.
Carol Wilson
100%
0%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
2/27/2014 | 10:41:45 AM
Re: Looks good
Based on the description, this is something I would use immediately, espeically the spam feature and the frequent dialer buttons. 

You have to wonder, though, if the spam reporting feature wouldn't quickly become a popular way of gaining revenge...

 
DOShea
50%
50%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
2/27/2014 | 10:16:42 AM
What Sparkle said...
Also interesting here is the cooperative development between the carrier and the device maker to do something that for now seems fairly unique.

Ok, I confess, I just wanted to have a post with the subject line "What Sparkle said..."
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
2/27/2014 | 9:54:49 AM
Re: Looks good
Yeah, I really liked the look of it. And, they said the 10 names/numbers on the home screen get called 80% of the time. 

I've never had good luck with voice dialing. You see it catching on?
Phil_Britt
50%
50%
Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/27/2014 | 9:48:19 AM
Looks good
From the photo, it looks like a larger "keypad" than others, which will certainly help those of us with "fat finger" disease. But with voice dialing beocming more prominent, I wonder how much uptake this will really have.
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
More Blogs from Que Sera Sarah
The steady drumbeat of progress continues on as new groups are formed, R&D centers opened, timelines presented and strategies refined for making 5G a reality by 2020.
P3's study of VoLTE in the DC area shows it delivers high-quality, crisp calling, but a lot of stars still have to align to be able to use it.
And Light Reading wants to help! We're proud to partner with Intel to identify and profile female and minority-led communications startups competing for the funding.
Chicago CIO and Women in Tech at BTE keynoter Brenna Berman explains why we need more women and minorities in the tech industry.
Support charity. Defeat Communism.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Network architects aiming to upgrade their networks to support agile, open, virtualized services in the 21st century need to consider new criteria when choosing between technology suppliers.
Live Streaming Video
BTE 2015 Sponsor Keynote: HP
Dr. Prodip Sen, CTO, Network Functions Virtualization, HP
LRTV Documentaries
IoT in Action

6|30|15   |   1:39   |   (5) comments


Two co-workers discuss the benefits of IoT technology.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson Opens Up on OPNFV

6|30|15   |   14:16   |   (0) comments


Martin Bäckström, VP and head of industry area Datacom at Ericsson, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the emergence of OPNFV, the importance of standards and Ericsson's OPNFV plans.
LRTV Custom TV
NetNumber Founder Discusses NFV/SDN Impact on SP Networks

6|26|15   |   4:15   |   (0) comments


NetNumber Founder Doug Ranalli examines why SPs need a new network infrastructure for service agility. While NFV and SDN are the tools, the old ways of thinking about signaling control are inhibitors. Doug provides his recommendations.
LRTV Custom TV
Orchestrating NFV vCPE Services Across Multivendor Networks

6|26|15   |   5:46   |   (0) comments


Nirav Modi provides an overview of vCPE, the fastest-growing NFV use case, showing how Cyan's Blue Planet orchestrates vCPE services across a multivendor infrastructure to rapidly deliver new managed services for business customers.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE at LTE Summit Amsterdam 2015

6|26|15   |     |   (0) comments


As one of the leading global telecommunications providers, ZTE presented its cutting-edge technology at LTE World Summit 2015 in Amsterdam. On display at ZTE's booth were the latest R&D achievements in wireless, 5G development, HetNet, deep convergence of FDD and TDD, and RCS/IMD/iSDN/vCN.
LRTV Documentaries
OPNFV Director Opens Up on Women in Tech

6|25|15   |   3:25   |   (0) comments


Heather Kirksey, the director of the OPNFV, gets real about the gender disparity in open source and standards and discusses how we can change both the conversation and the gender dynamics.
LRTV Custom TV
Symantec's Service Provider Security Strategy

6|24|15   |   7:06   |   (0) comments


Didi Dayton explores Symantec's emerging enterprise security strategies for service providers. Highlights include 'killing the password,' self-defense, advanced analytics and adaptive response in a service provider architecture.
Between the CEOs
Debating Network Evolution With Cisco's Cedrik Neike

6|23|15   |   12:54   |   (2) comments


Cedrik Neike, SVP of Global Service Provider, Service Delivery, at Cisco, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about solving service provider customer problems in a virtualized, DevOps world, including multivendor support and the future of network procurement.
LRTV Documentaries
Vodafone: What's Good for Moms Is Good for Business

6|23|15   |   3:04   |   (3) comments


Megan Doberneck, the general counsel for Vodafone Americas, discusses her company's progressive maternity policy, explains why promoting women in tech is good business and offers some some good advice for any women in the industry.
LRTV Interviews
NFV: Ready for Prime Time

6|23|15   |   05:09   |   (1) comment


At BTE 2015, Vip mobile CTO Dejan Kastelic talks about how NFV is ready for the real world and how Telekom Austria is introducing centralized resources for its group operations.
LRTV Documentaries
Tykes Talk Tech

6|22|15   |   02:30   |   (9) comments


What does optical fiber look like? When will 5G arrive? What's the WiFi password at Ikea? Light Reading sat down with three 8-year-olds to answer some of the communications industry's most burning questions...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Partners With TDC for World's First Early DOCSIS 3.1 Field Test

6|22|15   |   3:06   |   (0) comments


In a move to enhance user experience, Denmark's TDC aims to become an early adopter of DOCSIS 3.1. In partnership with Huawei, TDC recently ran the world's first field tests on its coax network that reached speeds nearing 1 Gbit/s.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Staying Productive With My Office-in-a-Bag
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 6/25/2015
Who's Feeding Fiber to LinkNYC Hotspots?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/29/2015
What's in Your Office-in-a-Bag?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 6/26/2015
Eurobites: Activist Investor Takes Stake in AlcaLu
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 6/30/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Casa Systems has been going from strength to strength over the last couple of years. In 2013, it became the first vendor to ship an integrated CCAP device -- the ...
Cedrik Neike, SVP of Global Service Provider, Service Delivery, at Cisco, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about solving service provider customer problems in a virtualized, DevOps world, including multivendor support and the future of network procurement.
Cats with Phones