South Korea’s KT Telecom has opened up 100,000 Wi-Fi access points (APs) as part of its participation in a government-led programme which aims to improve the public’s access to free Wi-Fi-based connectivity in order to reduce household telecoms expenses. According to the Korea Times the operator has also pledged to enhance Wi-Fi network equipment in subway trains across the country.
Commenting on the matter, Park Hyun-jin, vice president of KT Mobile’s business department, said: ‘Aiming at reducing people’s telecom expenses, we have worked on opening 100,000 Wi-Fi APs and improving the quality of Wi-Fi networks inside subway trains … We will come up with more measures to further cut household telecom expenses and expand benefits for our subscribers.’
With the government’s ‘Public Wi-Fi 2.0’ policy seeking to open and improve Wi-Fi APs nationwide, KT has said that the bulk of its newly opened hotspots are at busy locations, such as shopping malls, bus stations, subway stations and tourist sites. The hotspots can be accessed by both KT mobile subscribers and those that are not signed up to the cellco’s services, though the latter users are required to provide personal information (such as an email address, phone number, gender and age) in order to take advantage of free Wi-Fi for one hour.
Alongside its expansion of free Wi-Fi APs, KT has begun work on improving network equipment to provide faster and more stable wireless broadband connectivity. To that end, it is reportedly replacing old Wi-Fi network devices, which are based only on WiBro technology (the Korean variant of WiMAX), on subway trains with new hybrid devices that support both WiBro and LTE technologies. KT has said it expects to first complete the replacement for subway trains on lines 1 to 8 in Seoul, before expanding upgrade works nationwide by the end of this month.