[From the scene] Outdoor leisure gets more exciting with 5G thrills

By Lim Jeong-yeo

Telecom firm KT taps millennials and Gen Z market by deploying 5G services at vacation spots

  • Published : Aug 11, 2019 - 13:55
  • Updated : Aug 11, 2019 - 14:04

Telecom service provider KT has taken over Surfyy Beach, a rising surfers’ beach party area in Yangyang, Gangwon Province, with various activities related to 5G services for 10 days from Friday to Aug. 18.

The first thing visitors can see is a banner “KT 5G 5WAG,” written so that the number 5 in the last word looks like the alphabet “S.” The words are emblazoned across a giant screen installed at the entrance to the beach, which livestreams footage of jet surfer riding the waves wearing KT’s 360 degrees neckband camera called Real 360. 

A jet surfer wears KT’s Real 360 neckband and Sync View camera on his helmet. (Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald)

Next to the screen is KT’s 5G experience zone, and KT ON Restaurant where a robot serves free shaved ice.

Ranging from a zip line ride, Super VR goggles that play horror films and an icy liquid-nitrogen cryotherapy tank, KT has prepared summer specific events to bring the 5G network closer to people’s lives. 

Users can watch their own descent through the 5G mobile device as they ride zip line at Surfyy Beach. (Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald)
VR horror films are available at KT 5G Experience Zone at Surfyy Beach in Yangyang, Gangwon province.(Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald)

“Work-life balance has become an important facet of modern life since the adoption of the 52-hour workweek regulation in South Korea,” said Kim Won-Kyung, senior managing director at KT, at a press event held in Gangwon Province on Friday.

KT’s initiatives are driven by the outdoor activities market here, which has been growing steadily at an annual average of 7 percent over the past few years, he added.

“More millennials want to enjoy special, extreme sports, and share their adventures with friends via social media in a faster, easier way,” Kim said. To meet their needs, KT is attempting to expand its 5G services to a variety of outdoor activity spots. 

Sung Eun-mi, KT’s VP of 5G services (Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald)

“People are not yet familiar with 5G services. The industry’s claims about the hyperspeed connections come off as way too technical and irrelevant to everyday life,” said Sung Eun-mi, KT’s VP of 5G services.

“So what value can the 5G technology really offer? To show this we focused on the marriage of dynamic leisure activities and low-latency services,” Sung said.

It has been around 130 days since KT first launched its next-generation 5G services in Korea.

Starting Sept. 1, KT will open 5G Activity Shops in Gangwon Province, Gyeonggi Province, North Chungcheong Province, Ganghwa Island and Jeju Island, where it will freely distribute Real 360 cameras and 5G devices for users to try out while surfing, going on a zip line, riding ATV bike, para gliding, riding on luge, alpine coaster and cart riding.

KT 5G Experience Zone at Surfyy Beach in Yangyang, Gangwon Province (Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald)

In a bid to draw more subscribers to the service, the firm is planning to roll out more cultural events across the nation in 2020 paired with 5G broadcasting.

Meanwhile, back on Surfyy Beach, those who complete four quests, such as downloading KT’s 5G karaoke app, get a chance to try out cryotherapy on the beach for free. After spending two minutes in the freezing minus 145 degrees Celsius of liquid-nitrogen tank you wish to rush back under the scorching sun. 

A couple heads to the staircase photo zone at Surfyy Beach. (Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald)
KT ON Restaurant at Surfyy Beach has a robot servince shaved ice. (Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald)

Visitors who upload a photo taken from the 5G experience zone including the “stairway to heaven,” a short flight of 10 stairs ending at a red frame against the sky in the shape of Samsung’s latest Galaxy Note 10, are rewarded with a free shaved ice served by a robot at KT’s ON Restaurant temporarily opened at the Corona Sunset Bar at Surfyy Beach. 

The telecom firm’s domestic rivals -- SK Telecom and Uplus -- are also rushing to increase user exposure to 5G services. SKT is operating 5G virtual reality and augmented reality activities at Busan’s Haeundae Beach, Jeju’s Hamdeok Beach, Boryung’s Daecheon Beach and Donghae’s Mangsang Beach.

LG Uplus, on the other hand, has opened U+ 5G halls at Megabox movie cinemas in Coex, World Cup Stadium and Hanam Starfield Mall, where it offers people exclusive virtual overseas travel experience.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (