] SK Telecom is considering legal action against KT claiming defamation, amid continuing accusations by the rival company that SKT illegally damaged KT’s Olympic network cables, according to the company’s officials on Dec. 26.
With less than 45 days left until the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics kick off in Gangwon Province, the spat between the country’s two biggest mobile carriers appears to be escalating.
“The company is mulling a defamation suit against KT as the accusations are getting nowhere,” said an SK Telecom official.
The remarks followed a legal document sent by KT on Thursday, which demanded corrective actions, including restoring a 3.3-kilometer-long cable damage by SKT near the Alpensia Ski Jump Center.
SKT had been keeping a low profile since KT publicly accused the company of damaging cable ducts that KT installed for use by the International Broadcasting Center, which is one of the major Olympic venues, earlier this month.
Damaged cables were found at three locations in total: the IBC, Sliding Center and Ski Jump Center.
The two companies reached a settlement on the Sliding Center cables, according to SKT.
Last month, KT, the official telecom partner of the Olympics, filed a complaint against SKT with local prosecutors, and police have embarked on an investigation.
SKT had promised quick restoration of the damaged cable ducts, but the dispute took a new turn after KT held a media briefing on Dec. 19 about four additional spots near the Alpensia Ski Jump Center allegedly damaged by SKT during a media trip to PyeongChang.
However, SKT said that KT had made it sound as if cable ducts were damaged in four different locations when they are actually in one location.
During a press conference, Oh Seong-mok, president of the network business at KT, said SKT should make a public apology about damaging the Olympic network infrastructure. Oh said any error or trouble with the network could incur KT about 5 billion won to 6 billion won of losses each time.
SKT, in response, countered that the newly raised locations by KT were legitimate installations using cable ducts near the Ski Jump Center approved by Gangwondo Development Corp. and the PyeongChang Olympic Organization Committee.
“KT’s argument is misleading the public by making it sound as if it is illegal for SKT to install cables at any of the locations near the Olympic venues.” the SKT official said.
By Song Su-hyun/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org