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Google to launch new subscription bundle

The logo of Google (Reuters-Yonhap)
The logo of Google (Reuters-Yonhap)
South Korea’s smartphone makers and subscription service providers are expected to face increasing competition from Google, as the tech giant is set to introduce a subscription-based bundle that includes a phone and various Google services, to lock more users into its ecosystem.

According to industry sources Monday, Google is likely to launch the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro smartphones in the US on Tuesday, local time. It is also set to unveil a new subscription service, Pixel Pass, which bundles phone financing and Google’s other services, such as YouTube Premium, Google One storage, Play Pass and Google Fi.

Although Korea is not included this time, Google’s attempt to lock in users could affect the local market, industry insiders said.

In August, it was reported that Google might be preparing to bring its new smartphone models to Korea.

In Korea, Samsung Electronics has successfully attracted users into a mobile ecosystem encompassing the company’s smart devices and Samsung Pay, a mobile payment service for compatible Samsung smartphones and smartwatches.

The number of Samsung Pay users reached 19 million as of August last year.

Local smartphone makers such as Samsung, however, is less able to expand their mobile ecosystems as they lack Google’s competitive edge in operating systems and mobile app stores.

Local telecommunications companies are also to compete with global tech giants’ subscription bundles and recently started to roll out subscription-based services.

SK Telecom in August launched subscription-based e-commerce platform T Universe, which provides one-stop services for a wide range of e-commerce platforms, including those provided by e-commerce giant Amazon, international coffee brand Starbucks and digital services such as Google One and Xbox Game Pass.

In June, KT launched a subscription service that bundles the company’s streaming service Seezn and services provided at branches of local coffeehouse chain Hollys Coffee.

LG U+ introduced a subscription bundle in June as part of the company’s loyalty program.

By Shim Woo-hyun (ws@heraldcorp.com)
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