SK Telecom CTO: 'We Need New Business Models for 5G'

Spectrum considerations
LR: Which spectrum band is best for 5G services?

PJ: We are currently developing equipment for 5G infrastructure which can operate in both the 3.5GHz and 28GHz 5G bands, and still considering a variety of options to deliver the best 5G experience to our customers.

We are discussing how to combine the nature of these frequency bands with the optimal design of network infrastructure to offer our differentiated services to our customers. For example, different frequency bands can be employed depending on 5G network applications. Applications like autonomous driving and robotics require require stable connections, and so the 3.5GHz band is best. For those demanding high-speed, large-scale data transmission, like AR/VR and media services, the 28GHz is more suitable.

We have also demonstrated a solution we call "perfect 5G" which involves interworking between 3.5GHz, 28GHz and LTE bands.

LR: What are the focus areas for your 5G research?

PJ: Regarding infrastructure technology, we are currently working on wireless data transmission technology -- for example, massive MIMO, cmWave/mmWave and Multi-RAT -- and the optimal network design capabilities for large-volume, ultra-high-speed data transmission. In addition, we are developing advanced technologies, such as full software-defined networking and virtualization leveraging network cloud and platform technologies. We are also looking at innovative MEC [Mobile Edge Computing] architecture design and deployment, as well as network-as-a-service, big data and AI-based network operations to ensure service stability.

When it comes to ICT service offerings, our research is focused on 5G network applications, such as AI, autonomous driving, quantum cryptography and device optimization for different services.

LR: A section of the industry has raised concerns about the business models for 5G. Is that something that concerns you?

PJ: 5G is expected to require more investment than LTE networks. That is why we need to come up with an innovative business model and to dedicate our resources to the development of a new business model for the commercial 5G services.

South Korea's three mobile operators have successfully provided world-class LTE services. Unfortunately, however, the biggest beneficiaries have been over-the-top providers, such as Google, Facebook and Netflix. Thus, we are making investments in a new business model for 5G services. We are working on various scenarios for 5G services, such as mMTC [massive machine-type communications] and URLLC [ultra-reliable and low latency communications], in order to develop new B2B services like autonomous driving, robot communications and public safety systems.

Also, we will complete the commercial deployment of 5G networks as early as the first half of 2019, to firmly establish our presence in new services and apply new business models to these services.

Our vendors, such as Samsung, Qualcomm and Huawei, will launch commercial modems for 5G smartphones in December 2018 and are expected to release 5G smartphones six months later, in June 2019. However, we will align ourselves in the Korean government's plan for commercial 5G networks and closely work with our device and chipset partners to move up the schedule to the first half of 2019.

— Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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Gabriel Brown 1/12/2018 | 10:00:22 AM
SK Telecom CTO on 5G Excellent write-up. This is a good overview of the state of 5G for progressive operators at the start of 2018.
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