SK Telecom launches LTE in South Korea

SK Telecom has launched commercial 4G LTE service in South Korea.

SK Telecom has launched commercial 4G LTE service in South Korea. Company expects to attract 300,000 LTE subscribers in 2011, 6 million by 2013, and 10 million by 2015. SK Telecom plans to release nine different LTE devices throughout year 2011; data modem in July, smartphone in September, and tablet PC in October.

In April 2011, the company held a 4G LTE network demonstration at its Bundang Building’s LTE Test-bed to showcase its advanced LTE technology by comparing speeds of 4G LTE and 3G WCDMA; showing LTE-based 3D video streaming and high definition video content download/ streaming; and demonstrating high definition video call between two handsets, one located in a moving bus and the other in the Bundang Building.

As LTE’s success will be largely determined by call quality in the beginning of the service provision, SK Telecom said that it completed deploying LTE networks in Seoul by building 1772 Radio Units (RU) and 609 Digital Units (DU). In addition to this, the company will also use its 200,000 existing 800MHz repeaters to offer seamless and flawless 4G LTE service in all areas of Seoul, including underground and indoor areas.

SK Telecom said that, as it uses 800MHz for its LTE service, it will allow users to experience a service of a different level, fully leveraging its capability and knowhow in network deployment and operation, 800MHz band in particular, accumulated over the last 28 years since it launched the first 1G analogue mobile service in Korea.

Starting with LTE commercialization in Seoul on 1 July, the company plans to complete LTE roll-out in 23 cities including the Seoul Metropolitan area and six metropolitan cities by early next year, and secure national coverage (82 cities) by 2013. SK Telecom also said that the national coverage could become a reality earlier than planned depending on the market situation. Moreover, the company expects to introduce LTE-Advanced, the download speed of which reaches 1Gbps, in around 2013, by upgrading its LTE networks.

SK Telecom expects to effectively cover massively increasing data traffic as LTE networks can handle three times more data compared to the existing WCDMA networks due to its greatly enhanced speed. The company projects that around 65% of total data traffic will be handled by LTE networks in 2014.


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