EarthLink and SK Join Forces
EarthLink and SK Telecom are forming a joint venture to market wireless voice and data services in the U.S.
The new entity, to be called SK-EarthLink and capitalized with $440 million of partner investments over the next three years, will be a non-facilities-based nationwide mobile virtual network operator (“MVNO”).
“This partnership reflects 30 years of combined experience that EarthLink and SK Telecom have gained anticipating and delivering innovative Internet applications and wireless services,” said Garry Betty, EarthLink president and CEO. “SK-EarthLink has the potential to reshape the mobile communications market by meeting the growing demand of U.S. consumers who are currently underserved by existing voice-oriented wireless operators.”
“SK Telecom is committed to shaping the information and telecommunications world of the 21st century. This joint venture is a continuation of SK Telecom’s commitment to provide the most innovative world-class mobile communications technology,” said Shin Bae Kim, president and CEO of SK Telecom.
“The wireless and Internet worlds are colliding, and neither will be the same again,” said EarthLink founder and director Sky Dayton who will serve as CEO of the joint venture. “In South Korea, kids on the street are using their mobile phones to listen to music, watch TV, video conference, locate their friends and access the Internet — as well as make voice calls — as opposed to the U.S. where the mobile experience is primarily about talking on the phone. Americans are living in the past. Utilizing emerging 3G networks and harnessing the explosive growth of Wi-Fi, SK-EarthLink will take the wireless experience in the U.S. to a new level.”
Under the terms of the agreement, EarthLink and SK Telecom will each have a 50 percent ownership stake in SK-EarthLink. EarthLink and SK Telecom will each appoint three members to the six member board of directors.
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