IT&E, the largest wireless provider in Guam and the Marianas, announced yesterday a strategic partnership with SK Telecom, South Korea’s largest mobile operator, with around 30 million mobile subscribers, which is about 50 percent of the total Korean market.
SK Telecom and IT&E will work hand in hand to not only extend 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.
Furthermore, 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 in Guam and the CNMI but will also bring a company of SK Telecom’s size and economic reach into the Marianas’ regional business community.
The partnership represents an opportunity for both IT&E and SK Telecom.
Jose Ricardo Delgado, president and chief executive officer, Citadel Pacific Ltd., the parent company of IT&E, said that SK Telecom 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 region. 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.”
From a technical and operational perspective, IT&E feels very strongly about the benefits of this partnership.
“SK Telecom’s technology, leadership and engineering strength coupled with IT&E’s continuing commitment to our customer and community will provide a powerful combination to deliver world class service and customer satisfaction to our local, tourist, and military customers,” said James Oehlerking, chief executive officer of IT&E.
For its part, SK Telecom looks forward to expanding its global presence and sharing its expertise. Park Jung-Ho, SK Telecom president and chief executive officer, said that SK Telecom is “very pleased to work with the Delgado family to expand IT&E. Through collaboration with IT&E, SK Telecom will contribute to the advancement of IT&E’s communications networks in Guam and the CNMI, while providing greater benefits to SK Telecom’s subscribers who visit the region.”
The partnership represents an investment of $33 million by SK Telecom. With its investment in IT&E, SK Telecom has become the second largest shareholder of IT&E.
SK Telecom was established in March 1984, leading the development of the global mobile telecommunications industry by launching CDMA (2G), WCDMA (3G) and LTE-A (4G) for the first time in the world. It belongs to the SK Holdings Group, which had revenues of over $84 billion in 2017, and is the second largest Korean conglomerate. (PR)