Earthlink Teams Up With SK Telecom And All We Got Was A Treo 650?
By Mike Masnick, Tue Jun 07 23:30:00 GMT 2005

Earthlink and SK Telecom promised that their joint venture would show the US the best of what was happening on mobile networks in South Korea. Instead, it's bringing out a handset that almost every US operator already offers.

When Earthlink and SK Telecom first announced their plans to create SK-Earthlink, an MVNO offering for the US, it sounded great. After all, SK Telecom has been one of the most innovative and forward thinking mobile operators in the world. In fact, in the video the two companies played at the announcement highlighted all of the creative uses of EV-DO technology in Korea, and how SK Telecom would help bring them to the US, piggybacking on EV-DO networks that were being built here by Sprint and Verizon Wireless.

With that in mind, it's a bit surprising that the first word concerning handsets to be offered on SK-Earthlink will be the Treo 650 from PalmOne. When you look at existing handsets on the market in the US, the Treo 650 is definitely an impressive one, with many fans. However, it's already offered by Sprint, Verizon Wireless and Cingular. It also isn't designed to utilize EV-DO, but the slower 1xRTT network. This isn't exactly pushing the envelope. It's more of catching up with the Joneses.

Hopefully, this is just the beginning, and SK-Earthlink really does plan to bring some of the more innovative handsets, applications and services from South Korea to the US -- while in the process pushing the other operators to move forward as well. However, the first handset announcement from the joint venture is hardly anything to phone home about.