January 26, 2011
SEOUL -- SK Telecom today revealed the first step to commercialize LTE by announcing the selection of Samsung Electronics, LG-Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks as key equipment suppliers for its 4G LTE network. The company will begin providing commercial LTE services in Seoul by July this year and plans to expand the service to the Seoul metropolitan area and six other metropolitan cities by 2012. The service will become nationwide by 2013.
LTE is a next-generation data-only network that allows up to 75 Mbps downlink and 37.5 Mbps uplink speed - respectively, five times and seven times faster than that of WCDMA networks. LTE is also expected to bring a three-fold increase of data capacity compared to existing 3G networks.
Bae Joon-Dong, President and Head of Network CIC of SK Telecom, said: "We're very excited with this major milestone. As we begin this journey in the evolution of our wireless network, we are delighted to partner with top LTE equipment suppliers to build our 4G network. Once we have full-pledged service, we expect huge market demand and a new wave of mobile innovation with higher quality multimedia contents and advanced smart devices."
Selects Samsung Electronics, LG-Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks as LTE equipment vendors SK Telecom picked Samsung Electronics, LG-Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks as key equipment suppliers for its 4G LTE network - Samsung Electronics and LG-Ericsson will particularly supply switching equipment while all three companies will provide base station equipment. The company began benchmark quality tests of equipment in September 2010 and chose its partners based on price and compatibility with other suppliers.
SK Telecom plans to apply the multi-vendor interoperability technology in order to simultaneously use different vendors' switching equipment and base station equipment to service one area. This will allow SK Telecom to select optimized equipment according to different network coverage levels, thus creating a higher quality LTE network.
To introduce SCAN method to realize effective 4G coverage SK Telecom will adopt its own Smart Cloud Access Network (SCAN) method to set up a truly effective and integrated LTE network. A base station largely consists of Digital Unit (DU) and Radio Unit (RU). With SK Telecom's SCAN method, LTE network DUs will be stored together in one area, while Remote Radio Units (RRU) - along with the antenna - will be set up in various locations.
SCAN is a highly effective cloud-based network deployment method especially optimized for wireless communication as multiple RRUs can be installed according to varying network capacity needs of each area.
Furthermore, upon receiving approval from the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) to utilize the 800 MHz bandwidth for LTE service, SK Telecom plans to provide flawless LTE service underground and inside of buildings from beginning of deployment.
To launch LTE smartphones, tablet PCs and data modems in 2011 SK Telecom will start offering data modems with plans to commercialize LTE network for the first time in Korea in July. Additional plans to launch diverse LTE devices including smartphones and tablet PCs by end of this year are underway.
LTE smartphones will use 3G network for voice service and LTE network for data service through DBDM (Dual Band Dual Mode) format. Until the company secures nationwide coverage for LTE, all the LTE devices will be launched in DBDM formats. In the areas where LTE coverage is not secured, SK Telecom will offer seamless data service through current WCDMA networks. The DBDM device strategy is also selected by diverse mobile operators that already commercialized LTE service.
To boost network capacity in small areas by deploying 62,000 Wi-Fi zones and over 10,000 femtocells SK Telecom plans to handle data traffic flawlessly in small areas by increasing the number of Wi-Fi zones to 62,000 this year and by deploying additional 45,000 Wi-Fi zones by the end of 2011, as well as expanding the 1,000 femtocells deployed last year to 10,000 femtocells. Also, SK telecom plans to offer femtocells that can handle voice and data traffic at the same time in small areas. Furthermore, the 6-sector solutions, which can double the capacity of current base stations, will be expanded to 500 base stations this year from 20 base stations beta-tested at the end of last year.
SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM)
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