(LEAD) South Korean telecom operators on guard against potential network outages due to powerful typhoon

(ATTN: UPDATES with more info in paragraphs 3, 10-11; ADD photos)

SEOUL, Sept. 5 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s three major telecom operators have rolled out contingency measures to deal with potential network disruptions caused by Typhoon Hinnamnor as the country prepares for this which might be his most powerful storm ever.

Classified as a “very strong” typhoon, Hinnamnor moved north to reach the waters off the southern island of Jeju on Monday and is expected to make landfall 80 km north-northwest of the southern port city of Busan on Tuesday at 9 a.m., according to the Korea Meteorological Administration.

Hinnamnor is expected to become the strongest typhoon to ever make landfall in South Korea. The weather agency issued a heavy rain warning for all parts of the country through Tuesday.

KT Corp., South Korea’s largest fixed-line operator and second-largest mobile operator, said it has set up typhoon emergency centers in major cities and plans to operate them until September 13.

The company has placed emergency equipment, such as power-generating vehicles, indoor fans and water pumps, in key regional grid hubs.

Leading wireless carrier SK Telecom Co. also established a joint emergency response center with its subsidiary SK Broadband Co. to monitor typhoon damage and deliver supplies to storm-affected facilities.

The company said it had mobilized emergency power generators at key facilities and prepared for possible base station outages at flood-prone metro stations.

LG Uplus Corp. also operates an in-house 24-hour emergency center and has placed key equipment supplies at regional network facilities to deal with any issues immediately.

It is also preparing to provide free Wi-Fi and other telecommunications support in emergency shelters that may be created due to storm and flood damage.

The Ministry of Science and ICT, which oversees the telecommunications industry, held a disaster response meeting to review related government measures against the typhoon in the communications, broadcasting and postal sectors.

ICT Minister Lee Jong-ho called on broadcasters and telecom operators to work to minimize the damage caused by the typhoon in their areas, stressing that their services are essential for people to contact loved ones and obtain important disaster safety information.

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