A 5G demonstration by KT received rave reviews and much attention from the world ICT industry and at the same time, a KT subsidiary was raided by the police over an allegation that KT gave illegal political funds.
KT Corp is experiencing both positive and negative things at the same time upon the end of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games.
A 5G demonstration by KT received rave reviews and much attention from the world ICT industry and at the same time, a KT subsidiary was raided by the police over an allegation that KT gave illegal political funds and the police will analyze the material and data obtained during the raid and summon KT officials soon.
According to industry sources including KT on February 26, officials of the global ICT industry including Mats Granryd, general secretary of the GSMA visited Gangnung Olympic Park on February 10 and lavished praises on KT’s 5G mobile telecommunication technology.
The next Olympic host countries such as China and Japan also benchmarked themselves against Korea’s advanced systems. China's weather science delegation visited the Pyeongchang Weather Service Center and observed snow management and weather monitoring systems after flying into Korea on February 9. Officials from Japan's Ministry of Land and Transportation will visit the Fast Travel System such as self-check-ins and automatic baggage handling at Terminal 2 of Incheon International Airport.
Evaluations by foreign media were not bad either. "The Pyeongchang Olympic Games has become the best-ever high-tech global winter sports festival thanks to 5G technology," CNN said on February 19. "5G technology is one of the coolest technological innovation items that you'll see in Korea's 2018 Winter Olympics," CNBC also said on February 8.
However, KT Corp chairman Hwang Chang-kyu failed to attend the closing ceremony, the finale of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Hwang reportedly received emergency medical treatments in the hospital after he fell down, suffering an abrasion and a bruise on his face and breaking fingers of his right hand while strolling near his home on February 24.
It is also said that Hwang canceled plans to attend the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 that will run in Barcelona, Spain from February 26 to 28.
Hwang was planning to visit the MWC 2018 with pavilions of global companies such as Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung Electronics and booths of small and medium-sized venture start-ups and develop ideas about new business items. Hwang was also planning to share the results of KT's 5G pilot service during the Pyeongchang Olympic Games through meetings with leaders of major global companies and promote global cooperation on 5G commercialization.
To make matters worse, the police are reviewing the materials and data obtained through two raids in connection to KT's alleged violation of the Political Fund Act and will summon persons of interest soon.
Earlier on February 31, the White Collar Crime Team of the National Police Agency raided KT’s headquarters in Bundang and Gwanghwamun Office in Seoul on January 31 and Suseo Branch of KT Commerce in Gangnam-gu, Seoul on February 23, respectively.
The police are investigating the case with a possibility that the money KT sent to the political world was a bribe that went beyond a simple donation and is considering subpoenaing about 10 lawmakers.
Many industry watchers say that the police’s search and seizure are a signal that tells Hwang to quit KT one year and one month after the start of his second term as KT chairman. Moreover, recently, the appointment of outside directors came under heavy five. KT recently resolved to appoint Lee Kang-chul who served as senior social and cultural secretary and Kim Dae-yoo, vice chairman of Wonik Investment Partners who served as senior economic secretary during the Roh Moo-hyun administration.
What moves Hwang will make is a pressing matter as he has been deeply troubled internally and externally.