KT hopes to become IT leader via Olympics
KT is gearing up to provide stable network services for communications and broadcasts as well as fifth-generation (5G) network technologies for next year’s PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
With a year to go before the Winter Games, the nation’s No. 1 telecom firm by sales held a ceremony at KT Square in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, to mark the one-year countdown to its opening ceremony and encourage efforts for the event’s success.
The Winter Games are scheduled for Feb. 9 through 25 in 2018 in PyongChang, about 180 kilometers east of Seoul.
KT became the first official partner for the Games, July 1, 2014. This past October, it signed an agreement with Olympic Broadcasting Services to be its network and telecom partner.
The Seoul-based operator has a proven track record as it has provided network services for key international sports events in the past, including the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics, the 2002 FIFA World Cup and 2011 World Athletics Championships in Daegu.
What is more attention-grabbing is KT’s plan to launch a trial 5G service for the first time in the world.
The 5G network is expected to be 1,000 times faster than the existing long-term evolution service, allowing users to download an 800-megabyte movie in a second, compared to 40 seconds on today’s fastest network.
According to KT, the trial service will be available in Incheon and central Seoul as well as in PyeongChang, which will enable Olympians and visitors to experience the new mobile technology in advance.
The 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics featured live color television footage of the opening and closing ceremonies and a selection of the events for the first time in Olympic history, helping Japan make a quantum leap as a powerhouse in the electronics industry.
Given that, KT hopes that the trial service will serve as momentum for Korea to emerge as the leader in the global information and communications technology sector.
Among the envisaged 5G technologies that KT plans to offer are Sync View, 360-degree live virtual reality, Omni-View and Hologram Live.
Major sports like ski jumping and snowboarding will also be filmed by the 360-degree virtual reality cameras, and will be broadcast on the 5G mobile communication, while the Sync View service enables spectators to experiences from the athletes’ viewpoints in 3D.
The Hologram Live service using millimeter wave technology to project the athletes on a monitor will also allow the athletes to conduct interviews straight from the ski slope through holograms, letting viewers feel as if they were right in front of them.
“As an official network service partner, KT has made concerted efforts to enable athletes and visitors to use communication services without inconvenience at the Olympic sites and help broadcasters transmit live the quadrennial event for global audiences,” said Kim Hyung-joon, KT’s senior vice president and head of its PyeongChang 2018 team.
KT Chairman Hwang Chang-gyu, center, and other executives attend an event to mark the one-year countdown to the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics at KT Square in central Seoul, Wednesday.