KT, LG Uplus join hands on home IoT, AI services

KT and LG Uplus, the second and third largest mobile carriers in South Korea, on Wednesday announced that the two mobile carriers will join hands for a music content platform as part of efforts to enhance their Internet of Things and artificial intelligence businesses.

LG Uplus decided to purchase a 15 percent stake, or about 7.38 million shares, in KT Music, an operator of online music streaming service Genie, for 26.7 billion won  ($23 million) at a board meeting. With the acquisition, LG Uplus has become the second-largest shareholder of the music company after KT.

On the same day, KT Music’s board of directors held its own meeting to approve the stake sale and change the company’s name to Genie Music.

KT CEO Hwang Chang-gyu (KT)

The partnership between the two mobile carriers signals that cooperation has begun within the telecommunication industry to expand the fledgling home IoT and AI service markets. Media content, such as music and movie, is considered one of key pillars of the new markets.

The two firms will seek collaboration on the supply and marketing of music content and also work together with the country’s leading entertainment agencies, S.M. Entertainment, YG Entertainment and JYP Entertainment, the companies said.

LG Uplus Vice Chairman Kwon Young-soo (LG Uplus)

Uplus is focusing on its home IoT service centering on the company’s LG U+ IPTV service, while KT has been making efforts in the AI platform business, launching AI-based home speaker GiGA Genie in January.

“The two companies will try to combine their outstanding IoT and AI technologies in order to provide services that meet consumers’ satisfaction,” said KT CEO Hwang Chang-gyu.

LG Uplus plans to introduce various music services to its subscribers this year, taking advantage of KT’s Genie service.

For LG Uplus, the partnership is also expected to support its plan to launch an AI-based platform in the second half of this year, which would be similar to KT’s GiGA Genie and SK Telecom’s AI speaker NUGU.

“The company decided to make the investment in order to offer better content for our subscribers and refrain from wasteful competition in the industry,” said LG Uplus Vice Chairman Kwon Young-soo.

By Song Su-hyun (song@heraldcorp.com)

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