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KT Corporation
FormerlyKorea Telecommunications Authority (1981–2002)
Company typePublic
KRX: 030200
FoundedSeptember 28, 1885; 138 years ago (1885-09-28) (as Korea Telegrams Hansung Administration)
Hansung, Joseon (now Seoul, South Korea)
December 10, 1981; 42 years ago (1981-12-10) (as Korean Telecommunications Authority, KTA)
Seongnam, South Korea
HeadquartersBundang District, Seongnam, South Korea
Key people
Kim Young-shub [1] (CEO)
ProductsFixed line
Mobile telephony
Internet services
Digital television
Credit card
Real estate
RevenueKRW 24,342 billion (2019)[2]
OwnerGovernment of South Korea through the National Pension Service (12.19%)
Number of employees
23,372 (December 2019)
KT Submarine
KT Telecop
KT Capital
KT Rental
Genie Music
KT SkyLife
KT Wibro Infra

KT Corporation (Hangul: 주식회사 케이티), formerly Korea Telecom, is a South Korean telecommunications company. KT is the second-largest wireless carrier in South Korea, with 16.493 million subscribers as of Q4 2017.[3]

The formerly fully-state-owned firm (the government's National Pension Service currently owns 12.19% shares and is the largest shareholder) is South Korea's first telecommunications company and is a major supplier of the local landline and broadband internet market, serving about 90 percent of the country's fixed-line subscribers and 45 percent of high-speed Internet users. After selling its wireless affiliate Korea Mobile Telecom in 1994, KT returned to the wireless market with the creation of PCS carrier KTF in January 1997.

The company's merger with KTF, its wireless subsidiary, in 2009 made it the country's ninth largest chaebol (conglomerate) with nearly 24 trillion won in assets as of 2009.[4]

In January 2011, KT launched unified brand "Olleh" for both fixed-line and cellular broadband services.[5]

Company overview

Founded in 1981 as a public utility, KT played a major role in Korea's development in the information technology hub sector. KT sold its wireless affiliate in 1994, founding another in 1996 and becoming, along with LG Dacom, one of Korea's earliest ISPs. In 2001 KT acquired struggling broadband provider Thrunet, then the largest broadband company in Korea, which paved the way for KT to dominate the broadband market.[6] In 2009, KT merged with its wireless subsidiary KTF, paving the way to the integration of landline and cellular services. Ever since KT introduced the Apple iPhone to South Korea, it has been constantly seeking new business areas, such as media, e-commerce, and global business partnerships. The company has a well-distributed shareholder structure under which the National Pension Service (NPS) is the largest shareholder (6.81% as of December 31, 2012), but NPS holds no managerial rights over the company.[7] Under the current shareholder structure, no controlling shareholder exists.

History and milestones

Logo used from 1991 to 2001.

Before privatization

After privatization

After KT-KTF merger

Corporate governance

KT's Board of Directors (BOD) consists of three non-independent directors and eight outside directors, totalling eleven directors as of March 2012. The outside directors are nominated by the Outside Director Nomination Committee based on their expertise and business leadership, and hold office for less than three years. The BOD chairman is selected from among the outside directors and serves for a one-year term. The BOD consists of five standing subcommittees and two ad hoc subcommittees. If required, additional sub-committees may be set up. The current internal directors are Chang-Gyu Hwang (Chairman & CEO), Hyeon-myung Pyo and Il-yung Kim, and the external directors are Eung Han Kim (Board Chairman), Chun-Ho Lee, Hyun-nak Lee, Byong-won Bahk, Keuk-je Sung, Sang-Kyun Cha, Do-Kyun Song.[39]



As of 2012 KT customers can receive the services on any of radio frequency band assigned, one or more of radio interfaces.[40]

frequency range Frequency
Generation Radio interface License Notes
850 MHz (819-824, 864-869) 26 2x5 3.9G/4G LTE/LTE-A 50 billion won,[41] for 10 years (planned)
900 MHz (905-915, 950-960) 8 2x10 3.9G/4G LTE/LTE-A
1800 MHz (1735-1740, 1745-1755, 1830-1850) 3 35 3.9G/4G LTE/LTE-A
2100 MHz (1960-1980,2150-2170) 1 2x20 3G, 3.5G, 3.9G, 4G UMTS/HSPA+, LTE/LTE-A 130 billion won, for 15 years
2300 MHz (2330-2360) 30 3.9G WiBro 12.68 billion won, with rural area support,
for 7 years, until Mar 2019
3500 MHz (3500–3600) n78 100 5G NR
28 GHz (26.5–27.3) n257 800 5G NR License revoked.[42]

Smartphones and tablets

The KT Corp was the first operator to introduce the iPhone to the South Korean market in November 2009.[43][44] The next generation model sold one million units within four months of its September 2010 launch. KT launched the iPad in November 2010.[45]

Wi-Fi hotspots

As of June 2015, KT owns and operates more than 140,000 Wi-Fi hotspots under the name "KT Olleh WiFi zones."[46]


KT discontinued 2G coverage in January 2012 in the Seoul area, and March 2012 in the rest of South Korea on the 1.8 GHz frequency, whichwill be reassigned for LTE network branded "Olleh LTE" (올레 엘티이)LTE coverage all over South Korea will be accomplished by June 2012. Dual-band LTE on the 900 MHz will be available in Seoul by the end of 2012.[47]


In June 2015 KT announced it has teamed up with Samsung Electronics to combine Wi-Fi and LTE in a gigabit-speed mobile service called GiGA LTE.[48] The new network is estimated to be 15 times faster than the existing LTE and four times faster than the tri-band LTE-A, the fastest wireless network currently available in the Korean market.[49]


KT is the only operator that provides TRS in South Korea, as it merged t-on Telecom in September 2012.

Smart Home

In the first half of 2011, KT launched the "Kibot", a robot specially developed for the education and entertainment of children. The robot consists of features found on smartphones. In the second half of the year, KT plans to expand beyond voice services.

Mobile TV

KT launched the Mobile TV app, which enables customers to view live IPTV and video on demand on their smartphones and tablets.

Satellite Services

Koreasat 5A launch on board a Falcon 9 rocket in 2017

KT has operated the Koreasat fleet of satellites since 1995. Some of these satellites have been sold to Asia Broadcast Satellite while KT Corporation continues to provide some satellite services.[50]

Global business


On April 27, 2017, KT announced the launch of a 'GiGA Island' in Bangladesh, the result of multilateral partnerships with the Bangladesh government, international organizations, public institutions, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). KT connected the Moheshkhali Island to the inland areas by installing the wireless network technology ‘GiGA Microwave’ and used copper-based KT's providing giga-level internet solution ‘GiGA Wires’ to circulate network traffic within the island. With the ‘GiGA Microwave’, the island could successfully receive 500 Mbit/s internet service, and the ‘GiGA Wire’ enables the island's internet speed at the most 100 Mbit/s. This enabled more than 30% of the residents in Moheshkhali to communicate with the world through high-speed internet.


In 2012, KT contracted with the Brunei government to establish National Data Center (NDC) and its operation.[51]


Since 1995, KT has been a major shareholder of Mongolia Telecom. KT dispatched business professionals to Mongolia and operated various training programs.[52] In 2012, KT contracted with the Mongolian government for establishing an Earthquake Disaster Warning System (EDWS).[53]

South Africa

In 2012, KT and Telkom signed for a consultancy agreement for providing business improvement strategies for mobile sector and iWayAfrica, Telkom's subsidiary for its VSAT business.[54]


In 2007, KT signed a contract to build a Mobile WiMAX (or WiBro) network in Rwanda.[55] In 2008, KT signed a deal with the Rwandan government to build the backbone its new telecommunication network.[56] In December 2012, KT conducted a national information security project in Rwanda with Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA).[57] In March 2013, KT signed a contract with the Rwandan government to establish the joint venture to build a nationwide mobile LTE network.[58]


On March 21, 2013, KT, Daewoo International Corporation, and the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) signed an $18 million contract to establish high-speed Internet network in Podlaskie, Poland.[59] On October 3, 2013, the KT consortium signed a Public Private partnership (PPP) with the Mazowieckie province for a $130 million broadband project.

United States

On June 14, 2017, KT announced[60] that it had signed an MOU with the city of Boston to participate in the Boston Digital Equity Project, a policy that aims to create a better internet environment across the city center. Under the agreement, KT will provide its GiGA Wire technology, a service that offers speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second using copper wire instead of optical cables, leveraging technology.


In 2007, KT acquired 54.5% of East Telecom, Uzbekistan's second-largest fixedline operator, and 60% of the shares of the WiMAX operator, Super iMAX.[52]

KT Sports

KT Corporation sponsors an e-sport team and a number of sports teams and athletes, some of which were inherited from KTF before the merger. The corporate headquarters of KT Sports is located in Suwon, where its baseball and basketball teams are located.[61]

In addition to the teams, KT is the main sponsor of the South Korea national football team[63] and several LPGA of Korea Tour golfers.[64]

One of KT Corporation's major corporate rivals is SK Telecom. Match-ups between teams owned by both companies are dubbed the "Telecommunications Derby" by the media.[65][66] The rivalry is contested in esports and men's basketball. When SK owned a baseball team, the term was also applied to match-ups between SK Wyverns and KT Wiz.[67] Due to KT Wiz being a relatively new franchise and having a poor record for much of its early years, the "rivalry" was largely one-sided and given less attention compared to esports and basketball, where such match-ups are generally hotly contested affairs.[68][69]

Smart grid investment

KT is currently involved in the Jeju Smart Place test bed project led by Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, which is being pursued for the purpose of testing and developing smart grid business models. The project is being conducted on 6,000 households in Jeju island's Gujwa-eup area, and is scheduled to be conducted over a period of 42 months from May 2009 to May 2013. The aim of the project is to provide an integrated energy management service and achieve the means for efficient energy usage by adopting renewable energy sources and energy storage devices. The project is being executed by the KT Consortium, which is composed of KT and fourteen other companies, including Samsung SDI, Hyosung, Samsung Electronics, and four contractors, with the focus being to conduct demonstration tests on electric power-communication convergence business models.


KT Internet slowdown incident

On April 17, 2021, it was revealed that the 10-Gigabit Internet plan used by YouTuber It-seop was actually being serviced at 100 Mega. It-seop released the data on the speed test in the video, after which the controversy was published, and KT users repelled it.[70]

On April 19, 2021, KT explained that "the customer's information was incorrectly transferred due to an error in the process of moving the studio recently" and "For this reason, only 100 megabytes would have been provided." Subsequently, KT officially acknowledged and apologized for causing inconvenience to customers at the 6 o'clock meeting.[71]


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