SEOUL, Dec. 11 (Korea Bizwire) — Major South Korean telecom companies are reshuffling their staff with a focus shift to more profitable and long-term projects such as 5G and AI.
According to sources close to the mobile industry, SK Telecom has reorganized seven of its departments and prioritized units dealing with up-and-coming and next-generation services such as mobile communications, media, the Internet of Things, and service platforms.
As part of its R&D push, SK has created a new AI research center as well as a technology insight group that reports directly to the CEO, a group that will discover new business ideas and come up with business strategies.
The move to strengthen the R&D department, with CEO Park Jung-ho himself taking the lead, has widely been seen as an attempt to lay the groundwork for leading the next-generation technology industry.
A similar sentiment is reflected in the selection of new board member Lee Jong-min, who previously headed SKT’s media infrastructure laboratory, signaling the company’s emphasis on media.
Lee, who has a PhD from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), became the youngest to serve on the board of directors at SK Telecom after playing a leading role in the development of the world’s first mobile live broadcasting technology.
Lee’s appointment sends a message that anyone with great talent will be recognized at SKT and that the telecom company is poised to strengthen its R&D capacity.
“Through an R&D department reshuffle, we plan to provide technological support for the four businesses – mobile services, media, the Internet of Things, and service platforms. As a company, we will focus on innovation and delivering on our core projects,” an SKT official said.
KT has also promoted researchers to positions of greater responsibility, brewing speculation that the telecom company will also focus on strengthening its R&D unit.
LG Uplus is betting on 5G by launching a special division dedicated to 5G business strategy and infrastructure investment.
One industry source says the competition between the major telecom companies will be even stiffer in 2018.
“Next year will be a crucial period for the commercialization of 5G and competition in the AI technology market,” the source said.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)