South Korea’s leading mobile carrier SK Telecom Co. pledged to pursue bold investments in information and communications technology including artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IOT), joining global technology and communications peers in the race to grab opportunities the so-called fourth industrial revolution would bring.
The company said on Wednesday that it will team up with its subsidiaries SK Broadband and SK Planet to invest 5 trillion won ($ 4.17 billion) to nurture a new information and communications technology (ICT) ecosystem over three years. It will focus on AI, self-driving vehicle and IoT technologies, which can have a large ripple effect with other industries.
Combined with its 6 trillion won investment previously pledged in next-generation network solution such as the fifth-generation (5G) network, SK Telecom is expected to make 11 trillion won investment by 2019.
To foster its ICT business, the Korea’s leading mobile carrier vowed to concentrate on AI, self-driving and connected car and IoT platforms required to control a smart home hub and boost energy efficiency. To that end, it said it is willing to collaborate with the world’s leading companies including Samsung Electronics and US-based graphic chip maker Nvidia as well as small startups, its subsidiaries and even with competitors.
The company is already in talks with SK C&C, its IT services affiliate, to upgrade its mobile navigation service T-Map and further enhance partnership in self-driving vehicle technology.
In addition, SK Telecom plans to open the so-called IoT Open House to provide developers and startup businesses comprehensive support ranging from product development to commercialization. Its venture nurturing center to be completed in the first half of this year will aid domestic startups in communication and infrastructure businesses, it said.
In network business in which SK Telecom is set to invest 6 trillion won for three years, it will focus on 5G investment and the 2.6GHz frequency, which it won from the spectrum auction last year. The mobile carrier plans to launch a 5G pilot service in the second half of this year with an aim of full commercialization in 2020.
By Kim Gyu-sik
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