SK Telecom will launch its wireless earphones, or true wireless stereo (TWC), called Nugu Buds next month, the company said on Monday.
It will cost less than 100,000 won, the carrier said, claiming that it will be the most price competitive model in South Korea.
Apple Airpods cost 199,000 won in the country; Airpods Pro cost 329,000 won. Samsung Galaxy Buds Live cost 198,000 won.
SK Telecom said it developed the wireless earphones to increase convenience for those who sync their call apps with the company’s artificial intelligence (AI) platform Nugu.
The carrier said it had 12 million active users for its T Call service and combining its Nugu with it will allow it it expand its AI business.
SK Telecom’s subsidiary Dreamus will produce the earphones. According to Canalys, TWS shipment in the first quarter globally rose 86% year over year to reach 43,8 million units. The market will grow 29% from 2019 in 2020, the research firm said.
The South Korean carrier first launched a smart speaker with Nugu installed back in 2016. SK Telecom said it was the world’s second AI speaker and the first in South Korea.
The AI speakers had monthly average users of 7 million as of 2019.
The speakers were linked with IPTV setup boxes. Rival KT also launched its AI speaker, called Giga Genie three months after SK Telecom.
KT was the leader in terms of AI speakers, thanks to its dominance in the IPTV sector. According to research firm Consumer Insight, KT has a 39% market share in the South Korean smart speaker market in the first half of 2018. SK Telecom controlled 26%.
Meanwhile, SK Telecom showed off various services that combines its Nugu AI platform with its call app T Call such as better phone number, call and text history searching abilities. The carrier said the AI will be able to change recorded calls into text starting next year.