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South Korean Giant SK Telecom Invests $33M In IT&E, To Roll Out 5G Service In 2019

South Korea’s largest mobile operator SK Telecom is investing $33 million in IT&E Guam and CNMI under a strategic partnership that would mean lower roaming rates, faster data and internet services, and the 2019 launching of next generation 5G cellular technology.

Generally, 5G technology means speedier cellular connections. A season’s worth of a favorite TV series could be downloaded in seconds.

“It’s a long term relationship we’re establishing with them and I think it will keep us at a leading edge of available technologies that will be able to provide cost-effective and advanced services for both our consumer and enterprise customers,” IT&E Chief Executive Officer James Oehlerking said at a news briefing Monday.

IT&E’s partnership with SK Telecom means Guam and the CNMI will have access to the most current and most advanced technology that the Korean telecom giant rolls out.

For SK Telecom, the partnership also means expanding its market overseas to areas such as Guam, where Korean tourists now comprise the largest visitor segment.

“For the tourist market, this will definitely allow SK to offer some very attractive packages for their Korean tourist customers and it will help make Guam a more appealing tourist destination for the Koreans,” Oehlerking said in a later interview.

Oehlerking said this partnership makes SK Telecom the second largest shareholder of IT&E, with the Delgado family as the largest shareholder.

SK Telecom has around 30 million mobile subscribers, which is about 50 percent of the total South Korean market. It’s been at the forefront of South Korea’s telecommunications development.

According to IT&E, the strategic partnership means, among other things:

  • Extended IT&E network coverage and double broadband capacity in the next 18 months
  • Launch of the first ever 5G service in the region in 2019
  • Faster data and internet in more areas and expanded roaming services for local, tourist and military consumers
  • SK Telecom subscribers will be able to use communications services at domestic rates while traveling to Guam, Saipan, Tinian and Rota

IT&E also said its partnership with SK Telecom will also have a long-term positive effect on the region’s economy by bringing a company of SK Telecom’s size and economic reach into the Marianas’ regional business community.

Jose Ricardo Delgado, CEO of Citadel Pacific Ltd., parent company of IT&E, said in a statement that the partnership bodes well for IT&E and SK Telecom’s customers, “given the accelerating trend of Korean tourists into Guam and Saipan outpacing those from all other countries.” – Pacific Daily News

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