Korea's three telecom carriers ― SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus ― have agreed to join forces to launch a long-term evolution (LTE) service on Dokdo, the nation's easternmost islets.
On Monday, the three companies said they filed a request with the Dokdo authorities on Nov. 26 for approval to build a joint base station to help Korean residents enjoy LTE services there from next year. The government recently decided to approve the plan.
''The carriers need approval from the authorities to construct a joint base station for their LTE networks. Koreans who visit Dokdo and even some Dokdo residents will use LTE networks from February at the earliest,'' said an official from the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) by telephone.
The mobile firms plan to initially use microwave equipment and related equipment owned by KT. Microwaves wirelessly transmit data linking fixed and wireless networks from Dokdo to the Korean mainland.
''KT has decided to allow SK Telecom and LG Uplus to use our assets as the construction of a base station for LTE services there is well-matched with national interest and has greater symbolic meaning,'' said KT spokeswoman Kim Yoon-jeong.
Currently, SK Telecom and KT are offering third-generation (3G) WCDMA wireless services to the islets, while the smallest carrier Uplus is offering a CDMA-based service using KT's microwave equipment. Wi-Fi is also available on Dokdo, according to the companies.
''The islets are famous and attract many visitors and have some residents. Also, the construction itself has very symbolic meaning. That's why we've decided to partner with KT and Uplus for the project,'' said a senior SK Telecom executive by telephone.
It's surprising that the carriers have teamed up for LTE because it is their main battlefield. The firms said that they agreed to cooperate to defend the nation's territory. Dokdo is the subject of a decades-old territorial dispute with Japan.