BARCELONA, Spain, Feb. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The GSMA today announced that Korean mobile operators KT Corporation and SK Telecom have been named the joint recipients of the 2013 GSMA Chairman's Award. The Chairman's Award, established in 1996, is the GSMA's most prestigious award and recognises outstanding contribution to the growth and development of mobile communications around the world. This year's award recognises SK Telecom and KT for their pioneering efforts and leadership in driving the adoption of SIM-based mobile near field communication (NFC) services.
"KT and SK Telecom have been at the forefront of global commercialisation of NFC, catalysing the financial ecosystem for mobile NFC from an early stage," said Franco Bernabe, Chairman, GSMA and Chairman and CEO, Telecom Italia Group. "These efforts have not only led to an explosion in demand for NFC-based services domestically, but ensured that the country leads in the worldwide adoption of a single standard for mobile NFC. On behalf of the GSMA, and indeed the entire mobile industry, I commend SK Telecom and KT for their cooperative spirit and a commitment to making life-enhancing new mobile services for users everywhere."
NFC is facilitating a wide range of new applications for consumers, such as mobile ticketing to board public transportation, the exchange of information and content, control access to cars, homes, hotels, offices and car parks, and much more. With more than 21 million SIM-based NFC handsets, South Koreans have become avid NFC users, tapping their smartphones to purchase goods in shops and street markets, pay fares on public transport and access buildings.
The two operators have applied significant effort and investment to ensure compatibility of NFC technologies in their home market of South Korea and around the world. As far back as 2007, KT took the lead in the series of payment projects instigated by the GSMA to develop a single, global approach to enabling contactless payments using mobile, showcasing the SIM card as the preferred place to store payment applications. SK Telecom has been playing a similarly leading role over the last few years as the NFC Global Project leader in the GSMA's Mobile NFC programme.
SK Telecom and KT have addressed some of the most complex business and technical challenges necessary for the successful convergence of mobile and financial services, at the same time driving consensus among themselves, regulators, handset makers, payment card and financial services providers and point of sale suppliers. Through all of these efforts, and particularly by striving for international interoperability of mobile NFC services, the operators have forged the early history of mobile commerce. In the GSMA's Mobile NFC programme, KT and SK Telecom are continuing to share their expertise and experience with their counterparts in Asia, Europe and elsewhere around the world.
"We believe that NFC technology will definitely enrich our customers' lives, providing a convenient means for making financial transactions and secure exchange of information while playing a critical role in enabling equitable access to secure mobile banking and mobile money transfer services to developing countries," said Suk-chae Lee, Chairman and CEO of KT Corp. "This award is a great recognition of KT's endeavor in the worldwide adoption of a single standard of NFC payment from the early time, when it led GSMA's Pay-Buy-Mobile Project and successfully demonstrated the world first NFC-based global payment service in 2007. KT will continue to drive innovations in NFC-based services and contribute to broadening of the global NFC eco-system."
Sung Min Ha, President and CEO of SK Telecom said, "It is truly a great honour to receive the GSMA Chairman's Award, as it recognizes SK Telecom's continuing commitment and efforts to enrich people's lives through innovative technologies and services. SK Telecom will continue to work closely with the GSMA and actively participate in its initiatives and programmes, while making redoubled efforts to become one of the most influential companies in the world by introducing cutting-edge ICT that provide customers with greater value and convenience."
About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. Spanning more than 220 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world's mobile operators with more than 230 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as organisations in industry sectors such as financial services, healthcare, media, transport and utilities. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as the Mobile World Congress and Mobile Asia Expo.