GWANGJU -- Fifth-generation network services -- the next step after long-term evolution, or 4G -- still seem a long way off for most mobile users despite ongoing efforts by telecom firms and mobile device makers here to promote the technology.
To bring the emerging mobile tech closer to the public, the country’s telecom giant KT is participating in national and international sports events such as the Olympics and showcasing eye-catching services based on 5G, which is theoretically more than 20 times faster than 4G.
KT employees provide support with 5G services at the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships held in Gwangju from July 12-28. KT Corp.
The South Korean telecom firm completed the world’s first successful 5G test run during the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, and also offered 5G-based broadcasting services on its platforms during the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang.
Making the most of this momentum, the telecom giant is trying to grab the attention of sports fans with its 5G services at the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships, a biennial aquatic sports event that runs July 12-28.
As one of the main FINA sponsors, the nation’s leading telecom firm will show off products and services ranging from 5G-based robot baristas and airships to the advanced broadcasting networks and equipment used in the FINA venues’ network operation centers. The landline and wireless communications networks installed at the arenas in Gwangju and Yeosu enable the fast, seamless transfer of vast amounts of multimedia data.
The company, which is in charge of running the network for the main operation center, said its engineers would be on emergency duty until Aug. 18, when the FINA World Masters Championships ends, to head off any technical glitches.
The championships, which kick off Aug. 5, are for nonprofessional athletes aged 25 and older and will feature six disciplines including swimming, diving and water polo.
“KT has made a lot of efforts to install communications and broadcasting networks and IT systems for the games,” said Kim Yi-han, head of the firm’s enterprise business unit. “The company will do its best to help the city to successfully host the international sports event.”
Inside an IT experience zone, some of the water sports competitions will be livestreamed alongside views of the city via a display installed in a digital flight cockpit connected to 5G-enabled airships called Skyships.
An IT showroom has also been set up near the main gate of FINA venue Nambu University, and tech firms and state-run tech agencies will use it to promote cutting-edge technologies such as autonomous driving and artificial intelligence.
Autonomous buses connected to KT’s 5G network will run in the arena complex July 25-28, the company said, and riders can enjoy onboard video-streaming services.
The telecom firm, which is vying for the upper hand in Korea’s emerging 5G sector, currently has 28,249 base stations across the nation -- the highest here.
According to the FINA organizing committee, 2,639 athletes from 194 countries will compete for 76 gold medals across six disciplines and 76 events.
While Gwangju will host most of the competitions, the open-water events will take place in the nearby coastal city of Yeosu, South Jeolla Province.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)