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SKT increases network investment to new level

SK Telecom said Tuesday that it will invest an additional 300 billion won ($280.12 million) in network establishment this year, raising the total sum to 2.3 trillion won, up from 1.8 trillion won last year.

This year’s investment portfolio, which amounts to 17.3 percent of expected sales for this year, is the largest amount ever chipped in by the country’s biggest mobile carrier. The company invested up to 1.8 trillion won last year and the highest investment record in facility investment was about 1.9 trillion won earlier in 2008.

The decision comes as telecoms are faced with increasing demand for better networks with the rapidly rising number of smartphone and tablet PC owners in Korea.

The investment will be put into building third generation (3G) and Long Term Evolution networks which will contribute to enhancing voice quality and data transfer rates in wireless devices, its officials said.

“SKT will make improvements to the data services by creating more capacity for the widely-used 3G networks and also enable a fast and easy transfer to more advanced networks like LTE,” said an SKT official.

As of March, 5.35 million people owned a smartphone serviced by SKT, up 36 percent from late last year and the data usage rate of smartphone owners also surged 57 percent in the same period.

By Cho Ji-hyun (sharon@heraldcorp.com)
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