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Can This Korean Company Trump a President and Launch Peninsula-Wide Satellite Services?

KT SAT Co., Ltd., Korea’s only satellite service provider, announced on Monday plans to use technological advancements — including 5G, quantum cryptography and a blockchain service for secure data sharing — to launch services in North Korea.

KT SAT stated that it’s undertaking these efforts in order to become the world’s seventh-largest satellite operator. Currently, it ranks number 18.

“As two Koreas move toward peace recently, KT SAT expects to launch its satellite service in North Korea, a potential market for communications and broadcasting networks,” the company stated. “[KT SAT parent company] KT Corp. has created a special task force to support inter-Korean cooperation and expand exchanges in ICT following April’s landmark summit between North and South Korea.

To improve customer convenience, Korea’s leading satellite operator is seeking to use blockchain technology, another promising innovation on cryptography, for maritime satellite services, such as getting real-time information on the use of data, service charges and settlements, the company stated.

Currently serving some 500 ships that operate in international waters, KT SAT stated that it expects the number of its clients to increase sharply, particularly because a growing number of young people manning Korea’s deep-sea fishing vessels demand stable telecommunications and access to information.

In the domestic MVSAT market, KT SAT says it provides service to 35 percent of the ships in the 500-ton class, or 700 vessels, which operate in coastal waters. The goal is to have a 50 percent share, or 1,000 ships, by 2020, the company stated.

KT SAT was established as a KT Corp. subsidiary, specializing in satellite services, when Korea’s top telecom provider spun off its satellite business in 2012.

image by Roman Harak (North Korea – Satellite view). CC BY-SA 2.0 

Ken Silva
Ken Silva is a journalist who covers the financial services industry in the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands.
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