Light Reading

SK Telecom Sounds Off on WebRTC

Sarah Thomas
5/9/2014
50%
50%

When it comes to voice services, SK Telecom tends to be years ahead of the pack.

It was the first to launch voice over LTE (VoLTE). It was one of the few operators that built a successful Rich Communications Services (RCS) implementation, signing up more than 1 million customers in just 50 days. And now it's experimenting with WebRTC, or Real Time Communications, the open-source technology that can turn any supported browser into a rich communications engine. (See South Korea Hears First 4G Voice Service and SK Telecom Boasts 1M joyn.T RCS Users.)

Japan's NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) earns the distinction of being the first operator to launch a consumer-facing app over WebRTC, in the form of a chat room. But SK Telecom is testing the technology in its labs, preparing to improve its IMS-based technological infrastructure, and working with developers to build related services. (See NTT Opens a WebRTC Chat Room and WebRTC & the Rise of the WebCo.)

Light Reading caught up with Choi Jin-ho, manager of SK Telecom's ICT R&D division, to chat more about how SK Telecom is using WebRTC and where it sees the challenges and opportunities. Here's what he had to say.

On the hype around WebRTC: At present, I would like to focus more on implications WebRTC has. It represents a paradigm shift. The hype around its potential may be overblown or it may even fail to "cross the chasm" in the end. One certain thing, however, is that new versions of WebRTC will keep coming out anyway, and SK Telecom is also making preparations for it.

On the value of telcos in WebRTC: Telcos have long proven strong in RTC. Though many OTT companies have expanded their services in the area, telcos are still unrivaled for their technological prowess that has been accumulated and internalized through development and operation over an extended amount of time. One could see this by looking at the heated response from external developers when we disclosed part of WebRTC that we were internally developing.

On SK Telecom's WebRTC play: For our part, we just uploaded WebRTC on the already-existing IMS infrastructure, but developers showed more interest and excitement than we expected. Of course, we still have to stay focused to create a development-favorable environment, so that developers can easily access and develop diverse services.

On SK Telecom's WebRTC roadmap: Though WebRTC is browser-based technology, its compatibility with browsers is still limited. Considering that the market is not mature yet, we are internally reviewing proper ways to address this limitation.

On the lack of support from Apple and Microsoft: If they do not support it, we will face numerous difficulties as of now. However, related services don't have to be limited to desktop and mobile browser. Diverse IoT devices installed with web browser will come to the market soon. The real value of WebRTC may be proven in completely new areas, such as IoT or wearable devices, that are not as heavily affected by Apple or Microsoft as the mobile area.

On achieving global interoperability: It is still up to whether companies like Microsoft and Apple would support it or not. Compatibility with video codecs is also a challenge that has to be solved. We believe other possible issues than this can be resolved, either in the market itself or in the communities of developers.

On co-existing with RCS and OTT: WebRTC will become a steppingstone to enable development of far more OTT and RCS services. At the same time, existing services, as well, can be upgraded with WebRTC.

On the WebRTC opportunity: It would not be productive to use well-established infrastructure of mobile carriers only for voice calling, text messages, and video calling. The robust infrastructure developed through service experiences will surely play a critical role in creating innovative services through technologies like WebRTC. This is believed to be the biggest competitiveness of telecommunications companies.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
5/15/2014 | 4:57:43 PM
First movers
Dean Bubley reminded me that NTT is not actually the first operator to launch a consumer-facing WebRTC service. Telenor and Telefonica also have them. More on that coming soon...
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
5/9/2014 | 1:32:29 PM
More to come
SK Telecom is always interesting to hear from as they are usually so far ahead of the competition. It sounds like webRTC is on the cusp for them. I bet we'll see a lot more apps forthcoming. I imagine most will be more enterprise focused than consumer too.
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
The New IP is actually bigger even than business. Like another hugely important tech that Light Reading is digging into right now, the New IP has the potential to change the world by fundamentally advancing what it is possible for people to achieve with communications.
LRTV Documentaries
The Three Cs of MWC15

3|2|15   |   2:33   |   (0) comments


My visit to this year's Mobile World Congress is going to dominated by three Cs – cloud, cells and coffee.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Shares Its Vision of the Future of Mobile Networks Innovations

2|26|15   |   2:30   |   (0) comments


Mobile broadband is changing our lives. It's reshaping the Internet, industry, and society. It allows us to freely connect with one another anytime, anywhere. At this year's Mobile World Congress, Huawei will share its latest insights and newest ideas and technologies that will shape the future of MBB. They will showcase their end-to-end MBB solutions that will ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerate Digitizing, Boost Digital Business

2|26|15   |   6:14   |   (0) comments


A new digital revolution is leading us to a better connected world. Together with millions of digital partners, Huawei will help CSPs to build their digital service ecosystem and aggregate a wide variety of digital services. In this video, we find out how Huawei is going to help CSPs implement digital operations.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Secret Recipe to Enabling Hyper-Growth Industries

2|26|15   |   3:38   |   (0) comments


With a number of successful cases on network capability exposure, Huawei is going to share the secret recipe to enabling hyper-growth markets with a step-by-step approach.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE 2015 Is Bigger & Even Better

2|25|15   |   03:13   |   (4) comments


This year's Big Telecom Event (BTE) in Chicago is going to provide more opportunities than ever for networking, getting to grips with key industry challenges and opportunities and, equally as important, having some fun.
LRTV Interviews
Light Reading ICT Leaders Roundtable at MWC 2015

2|12|15   |   1:07   |   (2) comments


On Sunday March 1, 2015, Light Reading will host an ICT Leaders Roundtable in partnership with Huawei. At this half-day event, CIOs, analysts and researchers will discuss key industry trends like virtualization in the cloud with a specific focus on new business models. Located at the luxurious Renaissance Hotel near the Fira Barcelona, space is limited so please ...
LRTV Documentaries
Going Green in 2015

2|12|15   |   02:04   |   (0) comments


Energy efficiency is set to be an incredibly hot topic in the telecom industry this year.
LRTV Custom TV
SDN & NFV: Where Are We Going From Here?

2|11|15   |   11:27   |   (0) comments


Vitesse Semiconductor CTO Martin Nuss gives his perspective on why SDN and NFV should be tightly interconnected and how he sees the industry moving forward.
LRTV Documentaries
Time for Gigabit Europe?

2|9|15   |   01:27   |   (4) comments


Gigabit broadband networks are springing up all around the US and they'll soon become more commonplace in Europe.
LRTV Interviews
Brocade Brings New IP Vision to 2020 Vision Executive Summit

2|3|15   |   4:23   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading gathered telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Brocade's Kelly Herrell shared his company's strategy at ...
LRTV Interviews
Brocade's Kelly Herrell on the New IP

2|2|15   |   12:36   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Brocade VP of Software Networking Kelly Herrell at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Brocade's approach to the New IP, the future of the telecom industry, and more.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Dr. Dong Sun Talks About Carriers' Digital Transformation & Huawei’s Telco OS

1|29|15   |   6:28   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dong Sun, Chief Architect of Digital Transformation Solutions at Huawei, discusses how telecom operators can become digital ecosystem enablers and deliver optimal user experiences that are in real-time, on-demand, all-online, DIY and social (ROADS).
Upcoming Live Events
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Net neutrality, broadband services and the current outlook on data consumption, as presented by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Hot Topics
10 Weirdly Useful IoT Devices
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 2/24/2015
Small Cells Enabling Location Services
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/25/2015
MWC: Let the Madness Begin
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 2/23/2015
FCC Adopts Title II Rules
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 2/26/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Check out Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he had to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.
G'day! And welcome to an entirely new feature on Light Reading -- our weekly "CEO-to-CEO" interview.