Another Windows Mobile app store, this time in Korea

KT, Korea’s second biggest carrier, who has recently won the contract to launch the iPhone, has also announced its plans to start a Windows Mobile application store in November this year.

Windows Mobile is the dominant smartphone platform in the small South Korean market, which only has about 500 000 users, only 10% of which are on KT, with the rest on larger carrier SK Telecom.

To make their offering more competitive the company promised to make it much cheaper to buy Windows Mobile applications from its KT’s “SHOW App Store” by drastically lowering the cost of data transfer to around 42 cents per Megabyte, compared to around $3 for SK Telecom’s “T Store”.  Data transfer will also be free on KT’s Wi-Fi hotspot and Wi-Bro WIMAX network. SK Telecom only allows expensive over the air purchases.

“We plan to offer affordable data plans to alleviate the burden of customers,” Lee Kyeong-soo, senior vice president, said at the conference.

“Although SHOW App Store may lead to a reduction in our data revenue, we seek to expand the overall data market pie,” he said.

Small developers will also not be charged certification fees if their application does not generate a certain amount of revenue, lowering the barrier to entry, and KT’s less than $1 registration fee is 100 times less than SK Telecom and Apple’s App store charges.

At present KT only offers two Windows Mobile smartphones, the Samsung’s Mirage phone (SPH-M4800) and LG Electronics’ Incite phone (LG-KU2000), but it plans to increase its portfolio soon.

The Windows Mobile application store market is becoming increasingly fragmented, with applications set to be offered to users from developers directly, independent 3rd party vendors, phone OEM’s, carriers and ultimately Microsoft’s own Marketplace.

Read more about KT’s plans here.

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