South Korean operator KT established a taskforce to lead its backing for a KRW100 trillion ($83.6 billion) government project to revitalise the economy following the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic by creating new jobs and accelerating industrial digitalisation.

In a statement, the operator said more than 200 employees will develop plans on how its AI, 5G, cloud, networking and R&D units will support the New Deal scheme, which aims to create 550,000 jobs this year.

KT said the number of staff assigned to the project will gradually increase as work progresses.

The operator plans to maintain the same level of investment in 5G and its Giga Internet project this year as in 2019 to support the initiative, as it invests to achieve nationwide coverage, commercialise standalone architecture by year-end and launch service on the 28GHz band.

Park Yoon-young, head of the taskforce and president of KT’s corporate division, said: “We are all struggling with Covid-19, but we believe that the Korean version of the New Deal will be a chance to take advantage of the crisis”, adding the operator will “make the most of our capabilities” to help the project succeed and also deliver “innovation in other industries”.