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KT accuses SKT of sabotaging Olympic network

Dec 05,2017

Korea’s largest mobile carrier SK Telecom has been sued by KT for damaging the telecommunications network set up for the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games in February.

According to sources from the police and the telecoms industry on Monday, workers from SK Telecom and its subcontractor cut a pipe from KT’s cable conduit installed underground in order to connect three fiber-optic cables at the end of October without gaining approval from KT or the organizing committee for the international event.

The conduit is located 42 meters (138 feet) away from the International Broadcast Centre and is a crucial part of the network through which images and sounds related to the sporting event will be transmitted.

The conduit was installed by KT, an official network partner of the games, from September 2015 through August this year under a contract signed with the International Olympic Committee and the Olympic Broadcasting Services. KT says it spent tens of billions of won to build the infrastructure.

While SK Telecom said it was a mistake made by subcontracted workers on site, KT accused SK Telecom of also attempting to gain access to its telecommunications infrastructure in Pyeongchang in September and October as well.

“Unlike what SK Telecom claims, the conduits are marked as KT so anybody would know they are owned by KT,” a spokesperson from KT said. “The case should be dealt with seriously as it could have influenced broadcasting quality at an international event.”

An SK Telecom spokesperson said that it had already inked mutual agreements with KT on how to restore the conduit and provide compensation for the incident back in October before the mobile carrier filed suit.

However, sources from KT as well as the organizing committee for the games said Monday there have been no agreements set up with SK Telecom on the use of cable conduits.

“After we found out SK Telecom had installed their cable without notice we asked the company to quickly remove the cables to avoid a setback in establishing the broadcasting network for the Olympic Games,” a spokesperson from the organizing committee said “But the mobile carrier put it off from day to day.”

KT sued SK Telecom at the Chuncheon Prosecutors’ Office on Nov. 24. Pyeongchang Police Station took over the investigation on Monday.

BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]