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SK Telecom forms an Emergency Network TFT - 3 Mobile Carriers are Battle-Ready
02/04/2015 | By Ahn Ho-cheon (hcan@etnews.com)

SK Telecom organized the National Disaster and Safety Communication Network (hereinafter referred to as the emergency network) TFT (task force team). As a result, all three mobile carriers have dedicated teams for winning the emergency network project and are going head to head with one another. As KT overcame the crisis of debarment from participation in the project due to the unlawful company sanction imposed on it, and is now able to take part in the project, the bid for the pilot project is forecast to become a cutthroat 3-way competition.

 

According to telecommunication industry insiders on February 3, SK Telecom organized an emergency network TFT under the enterprise solution division at the end of January. It consists of the project team and the technology team. The No. 1 telecommunication operator in Korea is planning to reshuffle its existing manpower into a dedicated team and make systematic preparations for the project. The project team will take charge of project preparations and overall affairs related to winning the contract, whereas the technology team will be responsible for developing equipment and technology together with suppliers.

 

The TFT emphasizes that SK Telecom’s strengths are its experience and know-how. SK Telecom is implementing a communication network, based on the LTE-TDD technology for the Air Force, and also participated in the LTE-based railroad wireless communication network (LTE-R) project. In these projects, most emergency network-related technologies were used. Also, the TFT said that SK Telecom is also outstanding in big data-based disaster prediction.

 

An SK Telecom insider said, “Capitalizing on our most extensive LTE base stations in Korea, our 30-year know-how of the mobile communication business, our experience in implementing the Air Force LTE network, and our security solutions, which acquired the only NIS (National Intelligence Service) certification in Korea, we are making preparations for the emergency network project.”

 

Earlier, KT organized the National Disaster and Safety Communication Network TFT under the Future Convergence Business Office at the end of last year. The Future Convergence Business Office takes charge of the top 5 future convergence businesses, including energy and healthcare, KT’s future growth engines. Putting the emergency network TFT under this office proves how strong-willed KT is. Chairman Hwang Chang-gyu has revealed his will to win the contract on several occasions.

 

LG Uplus formed the emergency network TFT in the first half of last year, earlier than its competitors. Like SK Telecom, it is comprised of the technology team and the project team. Currently the TFT is preparing the proposal.

 

As the three mobile carriers completed their preparations, and equipment makers are giving presentations one after another, the atmosphere is heating up in the market. The Ministry of Public Safety and Security will hold an emergency network project presentation for disaster-related agencies like the National Emergency Management Agency and the National Police on February 5. Industry insiders predict that a public hearing for the general public will be held as early as the end of this month, and the request for proposal (RFP) will be officially announced after mid-March.

 

The order for the project was originally scheduled to be placed in January, and the schedule is delayed by about a couple of months because discussions about network design (cell plan) and terminal specifications are still underway. The Ministry of Public Safety and Security conducted signal measurement in Gangwon-do jointly with equipment makers to ensure the accuracy of the network design. There is still controversy over whether the terminal will be developed in the form of a walkie-talkie or smartphone.

 

The ordering scheme has yet to be decided. The Ministry of Public Safety and Security is mulling over whether to separate the pilot project into two or three segments, e.g. the operation center, base stations and networks and terminals, or put everything into one order. Different mobile carriers have different ideas as to whether one mobile carrier will take all orders, or two or three mobile carriers will split the order.

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