New VoIP provider got contract from troubled company
Stars and Stripes June 9, 2007
PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — The South Korean firm now caught up in the public muddle over when and how U.S. troops can call internationally via home computers inherited its lucrative military business from a troubled firm whose former chief is awaiting trial on bribery charges.
LG DACOM’s now has a contract with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service to provide Internet and phone service to customers on U.S. military installations in South Korea.
Those rights previously were held by Samsung Rental Corp. Ltd., also known as SSRT. In January SSRT transferred the rights to its contract with AAFES to LG through a legal process called novation. LG DACOM now holds the contract through 2019.
That transfer came just months after authorities in Suwon indicted SSRT chief executive Jeong Gi-hwan on charges that he bribed two AAFES officials so his firm could hold the AAFES contract. The trial is pending and Jeong’s lawyers have said he is innocent.
The two officials, H. Lee Holloway and Clifton W. Choy, no longer work for AAFES and may face action by federal prosecutors in the United States, federal law enforcement officials have said.
SSRT also drew widespread criticism from customers who blasted the company for what they contended was price gouging and chronically poor service.
An AAFES official in February termed the switch from SSRT to LG DACOM “an acceptable solution for improving services, offerings and removing any concerns of SSRT performance.”
The official said expected improvements include faster on-base Internet speed, improved pricing policies and the voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), which has triggered this week’s confusion over when, how and for whom LG DACOM will provide VoIP service.