5G service to roll out next year
IT&E has teamed up with SK Telecom, Korea’s largest mobile operator— a strategic partnership that the company said would allow the early launch of 5G services in Guam and the CNMI next year.
IT&E said SK has invested $33 million in the partnership, making it the second largest shareholder of IT&E.
James Oehlerking, chief executive officer of IT&E, said SK’s leadership position on global rollout of 5G technology and joining forces with the Korean company allows IT&E to bring 5G much quicker to Guam and the CNMI.
“It is basically the foundation for the future of wireless technology,” he said. Without the partnership, Oehlerking said, IT&E would not have been able to see an early launch of the 5G technology.
With faster bandwidth speeds, subscribers will be able to work, play, share, and browse on their devices with faster data and internet in more areas and enjoy expanded roaming services, IT&E said.
IT&E announced the partnership at Sheraton Laguna Resort on Monday.
SK Telecom, which has around 30 million mobile subscribers accounting for 50 percent of the total Korean market, has been at the forefront of Korea’s telecommunications development.
Today Korea is known for its early adoption of leading edge technology and its world-class cellular and broadband network performance, as well as its leadership in the roll out of 5G technology.
“As the leading edge of internet-of-things-type of applications in Korea, we are looking at what would be applicable in the Guam markets,” Oehlerking said. “And based on our partnership, we will continue looking at what they are doing in Korea and what the benefits would be for us to roll it out here in Guam and the CNMI.”
SK Telecom and IT&E will work hand in hand to strengthen IT&E’s industry-leading wireless network by not only extending network coverage, but also to double broadband capacity in the next 18 months.
Looking many years into the future, IT&E has already secured 1150MHz bandwidth in the 28GHz frequency band for 5G and aims to launch the first-ever 5G service in the region in 2019.
SK Telecom and IT&E have agreed to allow SK Telecom subscribers to use communications services at domestic rates while travelling to Guam, Saipan, Tinian and Rota.
IT&E’s partnership with SK Telecom will not only improve the Korean tourist experience here on Guam and the CNMI but 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.
“The members of the board and management team are elated to have SK Telecom as a partner. The company is recognized worldwide as a leader in the telecom field, and we are so proud for them to have chosen IT&E as their vehicle to expand outside Korea into the Pacific islands region,” said Jose Ricardo Delgado, president and CEO of Citadel Pacific Ltd., parent company of IT&E. “Given the accelerating trend of Korean tourists into Guam and Saipan outpacing those from all other countries, this investment bodes well for IT&E and SK Telecom’s customers to service the requirements both ways.”