Korea’s largest mobile operator, SK Telecom, has recently announced that it has become the second largest shareholder of IT&E, which is a renowned communication service provider in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The strategic investment agreement between the two companies came into effect in June 2018, and it is estimated that around KRW 35 billion (which is approximately USD 33 million) have been invested in IT&E by SK telecom.
IT&E is a mobile service operator serving more than 90,000 subscribers on the widest 4G LTE Data Network in Guam and the Marianas. The company has been witnessing solid growth during the period of 2014 and 2017 with its sales increasing by an average of around 7 percent per year and operating income expanding by an annual average of about 11 percent. IT&E’s majority shareholder, Citadel Pacific is an investment company majority-owned by the Delgado family of the Philippines and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan of Canada. The company has been investing in the Philippines and the Pacific islands since 2005 and has a strong presence in fuel distribution in partnership with Itohcu corporation, airport services, and commercial real estate. Citadel plans to expand the company to other pacific island geographies and potentially the Philippines.
Under the agreement, SK Telecom and IT&E has been working together to strengthen IT&E’s network speeds and quality in central areas of cities and tourist attractions in Guam and Saipan.
Moreover, the two companies will review applying SK Telecom’s diverse security solutions to IT&E’s networks. The security solutions include Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), a quantum cryptography technology which has been successfully applied to Deutsche Telekom’s trial network in July 2017; Mobile Security Operations Center (M-SOC); and T-View, an intelligent video surveillance service.
SK Telecom and IT&E will also collaborate to commercialize 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) in Guam and Saipan. IT&E has already secured 1150MHz bandwidth in the 28GHz frequency band for 5G and aims to launch the first-ever 5G service in the region.
“We are very pleased to work with the Delgado family to expand IT&E,” said Park Jung-ho, President and Chief Executive Officer of SK Telecom. “Through collaboration with IT&E, SK Telecom will contribute to the advancement of IT&E’s communications networks in Guam and the CNMI, while providing greater benefits to SK Telecom’s subscribers who visit the region.”
“The members of the board and management team are elated to have SK Telecom as a partner. The company is recognized worldwide as a leader in the telecom field, and we are so proud for them to have chosen IT&E as their vehicle to expand outside Korea into the Pacific islands region. Given the accelerating trend of Korean tourists into Guam and Saipan outpacing those from all other countries, this investment bodes well for IT&E and SK Telecom’s customers to service the requirements both ways,” said Jose Ricardo Delgado, Chief Executive Officer of Citadel Pacific Ltd, parent company of IT&E.
“SK Telecom’s technology, leadership and engineering strength coupled with IT&E continuing commitment to our customer and community will provide a powerful combination to deliver world class service and customer satisfaction to our local, tourist and military customers,” said James Oehlerking, Chief Executive Officer of IT&E.