|KT's network business division President Oh Sung-mok, left, and Intel's network platform group head Sandra Rivera pose after announcing cooperation for joint showcasing of the fifth-generation network services at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games at the telecom company's office in Seoul, Wednesday. / Courtesy of KT|
By Yoon Sung-won
Among the three major mobile carriers here, KT is bearing the biggest responsibility at the upcoming 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games as it has pledged to showcase its fifth-generation (5G) network services for the first time in the world.
As all eyes around the globe will be on the international sporting event, the telecom company is pushing all-out to successfully demonstrate the next-generation mobile services to seek new business opportunities.
Earlier in July 2014, KT signed to a partnership with the the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) to become the official sponsor in the telecom sector for the two international winter sporting events.
Under this partnership, the company will provide all internet network systems for the event's communication and broadcasting channels, as well as security systems such as firewalls and surveillance camera chains.
The most important part of this partnership for the telecom company is that it will unveil 5G network services and its GiGA brand based on the exclusive right to provide and promote telecom services as the main sponsor of the Games.
"As a telecom company that represents Korea, we will bear the responsibility of organizing the safest and the most stably operated Olympic Games in history under close cooperation with POCOG and the International Olympic Committee," KT Chairman Hwang Chang-gyu said.
KT, which used to be a state-run telecom operator of Korea, has provided services at major international sporting events including the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup and the 2011 International Amateur Athletic Federation World Championship in Daegu.
In March 2015, the KT chairman reiterated the company's dedication to successfully demonstrate the world's first 5G services during a keynote speech at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Hwang's speech became a trigger to accelerate the telecom company's drive for 5G development.
One of the key objectives in KT's 5G drive is to register its technologies as global standards. As the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will decide 5G global standards in 2020, the telecom company needs a preliminary rule that it can share with device manufacturers to showcase its services two years earlier than the official standardization, it said.
To this end, KT organized the 5G Special Interest Group with Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics, Intel, Ericsson and Nokia in November 2015. The group established the preliminary 5G standards for the PyeongChang Olympic Games in June 2016. This preliminary network standards include agreements on technical details such as frequencies and data transmission, which meet all core requirements of the ITU.
Based on the preliminary rules, KT and Samsung Electronics jointly demonstrated 5G data transmission in October last year for the first time in the world.
This year, the two successfully tested 5G networks and devices at the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies and other sites.
In this test, the two companies transmitted high quality video data on the trial 5G network, which means that they are nearing completion of technical preparations to showcase the services next year, with only about 100 days left before the Games.
Besides technical research, KT also signed to a contract with the Korea Expressway Corp. to establish hardware infrastructure through numerous tunnels and mountainous areas in Gangwon Province where the international sporting events will take place, KT said.