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SK Telecom to develop more accurate disaster notification system

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : September 28, 2021, 13:47 Updated : September 28, 2021, 13:47

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SEOUL -- South Korea's top mobile carrier SK Telecom will upgrade the country's public disaster notification system to deliver emergency alert messages more accurately. The company will work with the government to selectively send notifications to people in a small area.

In South Korea, disaster notifications are sent out to all mobile phones in a designated area for rapid evacuation and counteraction. To prevent the spread of a COVID-19 pandemic, disaster notifications are delivered in real-time to inform people of the traveling routes of infected people. Text messages are transmitted through 4G mobile communication base stations.

SK Telecom (SKT) said in a statement on September 27 that about 4,000 text messages related to natural disasters such as typhoons were sent every year between 2011 and 2019. The company said social costs are reduced by about 120 million won on average every time a message is sent as people take actions such as evacuating from a dangerous area. 

By teaming up with the country's public safety ministry, SKT is preparing to narrow the areas where emergency messages are sent. Currently, disaster notifications are sent over a radius of some dozens of kilometers. SKT's upgraded system will be able to deliver messages to small areas with a radius of some hundreds of meters.

"SKT is always trying to protect the safety of the people and society through ICT technology with the government as part of ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) management," Lee Sang-heon, head of SKT's corporate relations strategy office, was quoted as saying.

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