SK Telecom is a telecommunication operator founded in 1984. SK Group has a controlling interest in the company, which is the largest mobile services provider in the Republic of Korea with 32 million subscribers, including more than ten million 5G users in 2021. The company’s subsidiary SK Broadband provides high-speed wired internet access and television services, with 6.6 million and 9 million subscribers respectively in 2021.
SK Telecom provides discounts on its services for people with disabilities, low-income households and retirees, to contribute to affordable and universal access to digital technologies. The company also has an initiative aimed at women facing career interruptions. The company offers reemployment courses so that the women can retrain as ICT instructors. SK Telecom also supports initiatives focused on increasing accessibility for users with disabilities and reports the number of people with disabilities it employs. Furthermore, it discloses how the economic value it generates is distributed among its stakeholders, its employment and the taxes it pays in its main markets of operation, as well as its indirect economic impact.
SK Telecom runs various digital skills programmes, such as coding classes for children and youth with disabilities as well as digital education for the elderly, to bridge the digital skills gap for vulnerable populations. The company participates in an initiative with the Korean Ministry of Education to donate personal computers and provide special tariffs for high-speed internet access to students from low-income families. SK Telecom also supports women in developing coding skills for a career in the tech industry.
SK Telecom has a Chief Information Security Officer overseeing cybersecurity. The company reports the number of data breaches it experiences and discloses the number of requests for data that it receives from law enforcement agencies. Beyond content control for children, the company has an exclusive service for parents and children under 12 to develop good habits for using smartphones.
The company commits to open innovation by participating in international standards organisations, having several open source projects as well as collaborating with universities and ministries on projects advancing 5G and artificial intelligence (AI) technology. It also contributes to the tech innovation ecosystem by investing in early-stage companies and supporting start-ups through accelerators across the Republic of Korea, including start-ups creating assistive technology devices for people with disabilities. Furthermore, the company has started to report the total number of women it employs in tech roles.
SK Telecom can better demonstrate how it manages cybersecurity by explaining the line of responsibility and how it monitors and responds to security incidents. Additionally, to complement its work on protecting children online, the company has an opportunity to make a clear high-level commitment to children online safety.
SK Telecom commits to respecting human rights. However, it lacks a high-level commitment to respect workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining. The company identifies, assesses and takes action to address the salient human rights issues in its own operations and in its business relationships. The company also identifies and engages with stakeholders whose human rights are or could be impacted by its operations, but it does not disclose specific examples of these engagements. Additionally, SK Telecom has a grievance mechanism accessible to both workers and external stakeholders to raise human rights concerns and complaints.
SK Telecom publicly commits to respecting worker health and safety, but it does not disclose quantitative health and safety information, such as the rate of high-consequence work-related injuries. The company is not explicit in stating that it does not require workers to work more than the regular and overtime hours. SK Telecom also provides no relevant evidence in relation to paying its workers a living wage. In relation to workforce diversity, the company provides a breakdown of employees in different employee categories by gender. However, it does not disclose employee numbers for any other indicators of diversity per employee category, such as age group. Additionally, the company does not have a public commitment to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.
SK Telecom takes steps to identify and address bribery and corruption risks and impacts, but it does not disclose a policy statement prohibiting bribery and corruption. Further, the company has a global tax strategy, but it does not disclose its income tax payments for its individual tax jurisdictions. SK Telecom does have a publicly available policy statement on its approach to lobbying and political engagement, wherein it specifies that it does not make political contributions in line with the Republic of Korea’s Political Fund Act.