Samsung said SK Telecom’s 5G deployment will kick off next month

Korean telecom operator SK Telecom has selected compatriot company Samsung Electronics for the provision of 5G solutions, including a 3GPP Release 15-compliant core and Radio Access Network for 5G New Radio.

SK Telecom and Samsung Electronics said they will begin 5G commercial deployments in October 2018 using the 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) architecture. NSA uses a legacy 4G LTE network for mobility control, and transmits gigabit-speed data traffic through both 4G and 5G networks.

“Samsung has been at the forefront of commercializing each iteration of mobile network technology, from 2G through to 5G with our advanced technology leadership,” said Youngky Kim, president and head of Samsung Electronics’ network business. “We are excited to partner with SK Telecom and to be part of its innovative journey to accelerate the real-world 5G commercial service.”

“SK Telecom and Samsung have been working closely to provide the highest quality user experience for consumers,” said JongRyeol Kang, EVP, ICT Infra Center, at SK Telecom. “Today, 5G is already a reality for SK Telecom as we move forward to create the best mobile 5G network and offer brand new experiences to our customers.”

Since 2014, the two companies have been jointly exploring and studying the potential of 5G to create ideal commercial scenarios using both 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz. In June 2017, the companies carried out an interworking of 4G LTE and 5G NR utilizing 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz spectrum.

Ericsson and Nokia will also supply 5G equipment for SK Telecom, according to previous reports.

According to Dell’Oro Group, Samsung is the third-largest supplier of Radio Access Network gear in the U.S. market, behind Ericsson and Nokia. Samsung Electronics has secured key 5G contracts in the U.S. market. The Korean vendor is providing a range of equipment for Verizon’s 5G projects in Sacramento and Houston. Samsung is providing Verizon with commercial 5G home routers (CPEs) and 5G Radio Access Units comprised of a compact radio base station and virtualized RAN elements.

Last year, Samsung and Verizon began 5G customer trials across seven U.S. cities and have successfully tested and verified 5G performance using millimeter-wave spectrum to provide FWA pre-commercial service. These trials were conducted in California, Georgia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Michigan, Texas, and Washington D.C.

Samsung is also an integral part of Sprint’s 5G roadmap, as well as the carrier’s efforts to enhance its LTE offering by putting its 2.5 GHz spectrum into service and deploying massive multiple-input multiple-output antennas. Samsung said its massive MIMO solutions can also support split-mode capabilities, which will enable Sprint to offer both 4G LTE and 5G on the same radio.

AT&T also announced it has selected Samsung, Ericsson and Nokia as the firm’s 5G suppliers.

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