SK Telecom: Small Cells Key to 5G

Initial 5G deployments will look a lot like heterogeneous networks in which many small cells are overlaid on a macro-cell network, based on LTE-Advanced with a higher degree of carrier aggregation and more antennas than previously.

This is how SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM), an early leader in 5G investment, sees the next-generation of networks shaping up when it begins deployments in 2020. In an extensive interview with Light Reading, two senior managers explained that 5G will be both an evolution of the LTE network as well as include revolutionary new features. Small cells, WiFi, SDN and NFV will all play a part, according to Dr. Changsoon Choi and Dr. Jong-Han Park, senior managers of SK Telecom's 5G Tech Lab and Corporate R&D Center. (See 5G: Meet the Influencers and 5G: What Is It & Why Does It Matter?)

"Since higher frequency suffers from higher atmospheric loss and larger shadowing, more small cells are required to provide similar cell coverage," the SK Telecom execs said in the email interview. "Thus, the capex and opex reduction of small cells become important. So, WiFi technologies are expected to be one of viable solutions for increasing cellular capacity in cost-effective manner."

Want to know more about 5G? This will be one of the many topics covered at Light Reading's second Big Telecom Event on June 9-10 in Chicago. Get yourself registered today or get left behind!

Park and Choi also said that because of the wide range of new services with varying characteristics and requirements that 5G introduces, a programmable network will be key. Both SDN and NFV will enable this in 5G, helping ensure operators can implement services in a cost-effective intelligent manor, and that others that use the network can introduce new services with higher QoS, the R&D men said. (See You Can't Spell 5G Without LTE and Heavy Reading Q&A: Getting to the Heart of 5G .)

You can find the entire, wide-ranging interview with Park and Choi -- covering all aspects of 5G from the air interface to the network typology to the use cases and business model -- in the Prime Reading featured stories section of Light Reading. (See Q&A: SK Telecom Talks All Things 5G.)

— Sarah Thomas, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editorial Operations Director, Light Reading

sarahthomas1011 5/18/2015 | 11:20:03 AM
5G: everything to everyone SK Telecom has been an early thought leader on 5G, so it's definitely worth checking out the full three-page interview on the feature section of our site.

Howeer, it does seem to me that 5G is becoming a sort of catch-all network that includes 4G techs, 5G advancements and serves every industry possible. I think the definition -- or rather how we meet the defined requirements -- will needed to be whittled down some, which will likely happen as operators get closer to actual deployments in 2020 and beyond.
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