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Deutsche Telekom chairman pledges cooperation with Korean firms

Deutsche Telekom chairman pledges cooperation with Korean firms

Posted July. 01, 2019 07:53,   

Updated July. 01, 2019 07:53


Deutsche Telekom Chairman & CEO Timotheus Hottges (57) took out his tablet PC and showed a photo to reporters. He said he took the photo showing 5G telecom antennas on the rooftop of a building right behind a restaurant in Seoul, which he took during his visit to Korea this time. “In Germany, it could take up to two or three years to construct just one relay station due to civil complaints, regulations and administrative process,” he said. “I was amazed to see so many antennas installed right by a restaurant.”

The reporters met Chairman Hottges on Thursday, when he was about to leave Korea after completing a four-day visit to Seoul. Deutsche Telekom is the largest telecom carrier in Europe and global telecom giant with 70 trillion won (approx. 61 billion U.S. dollars) in annual sales, and has operations in more than 50 countries worldwide. More than 60 executives and officials from the German company including the chairman conduct a global worship biannually to gain an insight into the industry. Marking the third event this year, they visited Korea, which has become the first country in the world to launch commercial 5G telecom service.

Chairman Hottges said more than anything he was deeply impressed by the construction speed of 5G networks and on-site situation in Korea. The Deutsche Telekom chairman plans to produce a video on the 5G telecom sites in Korea that have impressed the delegation, and share it in Germany. “When people decided to construct 5G network in Korea, all parties concerned take action,” he said. “In Europe, however, people call for innovation, which is merely rhetoric without action.”

Chairman Hottges worked for German energy firm VIAG, before joining Deutsche Telekom in 2000. He has been serving as chairman of the telecom giant since January 2014. He has been friendly towards Korea ever since his first visit to the country in 2004.

He first formed relationship with SK Telecom through the 2016 Mobile World Congress. “At the time, SK Telecom’s booth was sitting right next to our company’s, and I found everything that I wanted including artificial intelligence, pet service, and high-tech map systems in their booth,” he said. “I asked ‘who is the CEO,’ and met with SK Telecom president,” Chairman Hottges said. He is also the very person to introduce Samsung Electronics’ smartphone to the German market for the first time.

Meeting with SK Telecom President Park Jeong-ho, the chairman promised with Park to join forces to transform their companies into global telecom players. “Samsung, Apple, Google and Facebook are global companies, but telecom companies in the world are still based on local regions,” he said. “In order for us to go global, we have to join hands with partners.”

Chairman Hottges agreed to cooperate with SK in the following three areas: Development of 5G-related technology including indoor coverage; Joint investment in augmented regality, Virtual reality and streaming industry; and discovery of 5G startups in Asia. SK and Deutsche Telekom will establish a joint venture for technology development within this year. DTCP, which is the venture investment subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom’s, will open an office in Seoul, and work with SK to discover and nurture unicorn firms in 5G technology in the Asia region.

“I hope to attract more Korean startups to Germany,” Chairman Hottges said. He said he met with a number of Korean startups during the latest visit, and expressed his wish to attract promising companies to Germany where the startup ecosystem is better established than in Korea.

Do-Young Kwak now@donga.com