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SKT to put T Map in Grab’s cars

Jan 31,2019
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SK Telecom CEO Park Jung-ho, left, and Grab CEO Anthony Tan talk after signing an agreement to establish a joint venture dedicated to car navigation systems at the mobile carrier’s headquarters in Jung District, central Seoul, on Wednesday. [SK TELECOM]
SK Telecom has teamed up with the world’s third-largest ride-hailing service provider Grab to bring its popular navigation app T Map to Southeast Asian countries, the mobile carrier said Wednesday.

The two companies agreed to establish a joint venture dedicated to developing car navigation systems for Southeast Asian markets dubbed Grab Geo Holdings. The joint venture will allow SK Telecom to take its mobility-related businesses abroad, while Grab will get upgraded map services designed specifically for its drivers.

The joint venture will be headquartered in Singapore and lead by Grab’s product design head Jerald Singh. SK Telecom’s navigation development cell leader Kim Jae-soon will take on the chief technology officer role at the new enterprise.

When the joint venture will be set up and exactly what the companies’ stakes will be was not released Wednesday, but Grab is expected to have invested more considering the chief executive is from the ride-hailing company.

SK Telecom will share its big data analysis technology that converts massive traffic data into usable information for drivers and position detecting technology accumulated while servicing T Map in the domestic market. Grab will offer map data for various countries in the Southeast Asian region.

The first task for Grab Geo Holdings will be to develop a T Map-based navigation service for Grab drivers in Singapore by March.

The mobile carrier said the dedicated navigation service for Grab drivers will offer optimized routes to selected destinations reflecting changes in traffic. Detailed features, including localized services, will be introduced by the joint venture later, according to a spokesperson from SK Telecom.

After the service in Singapore proves successful, the joint venture will enter Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnamese markets with its navigation system. Ultimately, SK Telecom hopes to develop various enterprise-targeted navigation services across Southeast Asia.

“Establishing a new joint venture will mark the beginning of making a big difference in the way drivers use mobility services in Southeast Asia,” said SK Telecom CEO Park Jung-ho. “We are looking to create various opportunities to boost our global mobility business.”

Grab is the dominant ride-hailing service operator in 336 cities spread in eight Southeast Asian countries including Singapore, Philippines and Thailand. Globally, it is the third-largest ride-hailing app following China’s Didi and the United States’ Uber.


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]