SK Telecom tested SA 5G transmission on a multi-vendor network
SK Telecom expects to start offering standalone (SA) 5G services in Korea in the first half of 2020, the telco said in a statement.
The carrier said it successfully accomplished what it claims to be the world’s first SA 5G data session on its multi-vendor commercial 5G network, which, according to the operator, paves the way for the provision of SA 5G services.
The SA 5G data call took place on January 16, 2020 in Busan, the second largest city in Korea, using SK Telecom’s commercial 5G network deployed in that region.
To achieve this standalone 5G milestone, the company applied standalone New Radio (NR) software to its existing non-standalone (NSA) 5G base stations, and completed multi-vendor interoperability between network equipment of Ericsson and Samsung.
SK Telecom has also applied key 5G technologies such as network slicing and mobile edge computing (MEC) to its standalone 5G network. Network slicing is being highlighted as an essential technology for providing optimal support for different types of 5G services by partitioning a single physical network into multiple virtual mobile networks. Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) minimizes latency by providing a shortcut for data transmission through installation of small-scale data center at 5G base station or router. MEC can improve the performance of ultra-low latency 5G services such as cloud gaming, smart factory and autonomous driving.
“With the successful standalone 5G data call on our multi-vendor commercial 5G network, we are now standing on the threshold of launching standalone 5G service, a key enabler of revolutionary changes and innovations in all industries,” said Park Jong-kwan, Vice President and Head of 5GX Labs of SK Telecom. “SK Telecom will offer the best 5G networks and services to realize a whole new level of customer experience in the 5G era.”
SK Telecom ended November with 1.5 million subscribers in the 5G segment, representing a share of 44% in the local 5G market, the carrier’s CFO Poong-Young Yoon previously said on a conference call with investors.
The executive said that the company expected to end 2019 with over 2 million 5G subscribers. By the end of 2020, SK Telecom expects to have a total of 7 million subscribers in the 5G segment, the executive said.
South Korea claimed to be the first country in the world to launch full 5G commercial services on April 3, 2019.
Local carriers SK Telecom, KT Corp and LG Uplus had initially launched limited 5G commercial services in December 2018 as part of an agreement with the ICT ministry to launch simultaneously to avoid excessive competition. SK Telecom, KT Corp and LG Uplus initially offered the 5G service in limited areas in Seoul.
In June 2018, South Korea completed a tender process through which it awarded spectrum in both the 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz bands. The government made available a total of 280 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz spectrum band and 2,400 megahertz in the 28 GHz band.
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