Sky Dayton could shake up the mobile Internet

Sky Dayton's new U.S.-Korean joint venture plans to offer cutting-edge wireless services early next year. It could shake up the U.S. industry.
Stephen Baker

In the first quarter of next year, if Earthlink Founder Sky Dayton has his way, mobile phone subscribers in the U.S. will be able to a wireless service zippier than anything in Europe. That's the idea behind his joint venture, SK-Earthlink. The U.S.-Korean JV will rent high-speed bandwidth from Verizon and Sprint and offer users some of the hottest Korean phones, many of them equipped with Wi-Fi and perhaps even satellite connections. The JV will also sell a host of data services. Talking with us this afternoon, Dayton wouldn't go into specifics, but the Korean model is pretty clear: Games, video, music, maybe some TV, lots of mobile blogging.

He predicts that the wireless world will break into segments, like the auto industry. "We might be Mini or BMW," he says. "Sprint might be Ford."

Way too early to know if SK-Earthlink will win the millions of "young and young at heart" customers Dayton expects. But just having a company in the U.S. pushing cutting-edge mobile services could light a fire under the sluggish American wireless industry.

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