|Models promote the Chatting Plus service that SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus jointly released Tuesday. / Courtesy of SK Telecom|
By Jun Ji-hye
SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus have launched a joint mobile messaging service in competition with KakaoTalk, the nation's largest messaging app, the companies said Tuesday.
They said Chatting Plus significantly expands functions but does not require users to install additional applications or subscribe to extra services. Users can use the service through a software upgrade.
Chatting Plus enables users to use the short message service (SMS) that can contain at most 140 bytes of data as well as the multimedia message service (MMS) that can hold up to 2,000 bytes.
The service also allows users to share large files up to 100 megabytes and engage in group chats that can accommodate up to 100 users.
The three mobile carriers previously released respective messaging services based on Rich Communication Services (RCS).
RCS, developed by the GSM Association, is the international standard for integrated messengers, aimed at replacing SMS with a richer text-message system. The GSM Association is a trade body representing mobile network operators worldwide.
But the service has received a lukewarm reaction from users as it did not work between telecom companies. For example, an SK Telecom user could send messages to other SK Telecom users only, not to users of KT or LG Uplus.
With the Chatting Plus service, users are able to send messages to others regardless of which telecom company they subscribe to, the three firms said.
"KT released RCS in December for the first time among mobile carriers here," said Park Hyun-jin, who heads the 5G business unit at KT. "We will continue to advance the service by adding new features such as remittance."
Moon Byung-yong, who heads the messaging service group at SK Telecom, said users will be able to experience better messaging services across the boundaries of telecom companies.
"We are also planning to improve messaging services used by corporate clients," he said.
Park Jong-wook, who leads the mobile service division at LG Uplus, said his company will continue to upgrade the service, saying, "We will secure various service platforms to offer new value and experiences to users."
The mobile carriers are promoting the latest service as next-generation that will be in the limelight in the era of fifth-generation (5G) networks. But it remains to be seen whether the services will be able to attract users, given that functions promoted by the companies are already offered by KakaoTalk and other mobile messaging apps.