KT opened what it says is the world's first robot cafe using its 5G mobile network in Seoul last month, with the 5G-powered cafe opened after the company introduced an AI-equipped guide robot named Lota in December, its first 5G subscriber, at the landmark Lotte World Tower in the capital city.
The Korean telecom leader says it is expanding into new businesses using intelligent machines with various business-to-business operators and, “to lead the so-called Fourth-Industrial Revolution”, KT chairman Hwang Chang-Gyu is transforming the company into an intelligent platform for innovation in the new 5G era.
"South Korea is leading the new 5G world," Hwang said at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting held in Davos, Switzerland last week.
According to KT, the 5G network's ultra-connectivity will be a milestone in distributing the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with the network's ultra-low latency promising new conveniences, such as autonomous driving, telemedicine and more.
Earlier this month, KT unveiled a “world-first” 5G bus in downtown Seoul during a promotional event. In the 5G-connected limousine bus, passengers experienced various augmented reality and virtual reality services available from the company's GiGA Live TV.
GiGA Live TV is a wireless network-based, next-generation service that does not require separate terminals such as a smartphone. Bus passengers could experience high-quality immersive media services from GiGA Live TV, which are available through a 5G mobile hotspot (MHS) catching signals from nearby base stations.
And on 27 January, KT says it successfully live-broadcasted K-pop group Wanna One's last concert, attended by more than 25,000 fans, on its HD IPTV service, Olleh TV. The broadcast was delivered through set-top boxes and mobile devices, using the 5G network.
At the recent Davos forum, Hwang also announced an innovative way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases throughout the globe, which KT says would involve the transportation of medical supplies or vaccines to developing countries through its next-generation platform for disaster and safety management, SKYSHIP.
KT deployed the first phase of its 5G network in November last year and the telco says the new service has begun in the greater Seoul metropolitan area, in the country's most populated, major metropolitan cities outside Seoul and in isolated areas including Jeju, Ulleung and Dok islands.
According to KT, it plans to expand its nationwide 5G network to 24 major cities, key transport routes such as expressways, subways, high-speed railways, large universities and neighbourhood shopping areas, with the new network providing 5G coverage through its “cutting edge” network technology.
KT says it will focus on the development of five key areas: smart cities, smart factories, connected cars, 5G media and the 5G cloud and, to provide innovative services for its mobile users, it is working with partners in South Korea and around the world, such as Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Mobis, Posco, Intel, Ericsson, Nvidia and Qualcomm.