South Korean mobile operator SK Telecom has introduced a mobile parking app. Drivers using the app, which is called T-map Parking, will be able to find parking lots nearby, check availability of parking space and pay their parking fees online. According to Jang Yoo-sung, head of SK Telecom’s mobility business, the company plans to integrate its taxi-calling service, navigation service and parking service in a single platform by the end of 2019.
SK Telecom launched parking management services in cooperation with its security service affiliate, ADT Caps. The operator said that it will manage the mobile app, while ADT Caps will operate the parking lots, which feature 24-hour security service. SK Telecom has secured 208 parking lots across South Korea. SK Telecom operates these parking lots directly or in partnership with owners. The company plans to expand the number of parking lots to 350 this year and to 600 by 2020.
In a joint investment with Australia’s Macquarie Group, SK Telecom acquired a stake in ADT Cap in May 2018. SK Telecom now holds a 55 percent stake in ADT Caps, while Macquarie owns 45 percent.
Here we find yet another example of a way in which an operator can leverage partnerships with non-telecom companies to deliver consumer services that increase the operator’s relevance as traditional services deliver diminishing returns.
SK Telecom is being very proactive in not just providing the means to locate and pay for parking via an app, but in also providing the parking spaces themselves. Acquiring hundreds of lots throughout the country is a strong tactic, especially when it comes to operating them directly—although we can also include in this category the indirect operation through partnerships with pre-existing owners. Creating a vertically-integrated, app-enabled, security enhanced nationwide parking system is truly a bold move on the part of SK Telecom, an excellent value-added use of its network and an extension of its brand.
Considering the near-universal need for parking in a developed economy such as that of South Korea, the appeal of T-Map Parking is likely to be quite broad. Integrating it over time with related services such as taxi ride-hailing and navigation promises to extend and solidify its appeal. And if, as seems likely, the services will be available to those who are not SK subscribers, this parking offering, could also serve to boost subscriber acquisition for the operator.
The acquisition of a majority stake in ADT Cap also benefits the deal by leveraging ADT’s strength in security technology. The offer of a high level of security 24 hours a day is likely to be persuasive in terms of attracting users to the parking system.