A spokeswoman for SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM) told Light Reading late Monday that it plans to bring together an "end-to-end 5G pilot system in an outdoor environment" using the "key enabling technologies" it has identified for 5G. These include: millimeter wave (mmWave) high-frequency radio connectivity for devices and networks; LTE, 5G, and WiGig (60GHz) interworking; virtualized RAN; network slicing; and a distributed core network.
"Our target by the end of 2016 is to interconnect the previously-mentioned key enabling technologies together to form an end-to-end 5G pilot system in an outdoor environment," said a spokeswoman in an email response to Light Reading questions. "The main purpose of this end-to-end 5G pilot system is initial assessment of performance."
The operator is "currently currently planning to expand the pilot service area, where the 5G test system is established."
Then, as the 5G miniaturization process continues in 2017, the South Korean operator expects that test devices will get much smaller and more user friendly. "By the end of 2017, SK Telecom plans to perform a large scale pre-commercial 5G deployment for more detailed assessment of the overall 5G system," the spokeswoman stated.
All of this builds on the work that SKT has already done with its partners this year: At the end of March, the operator said it had completed a 5G 28GHz radio test outdoors. (See SK Telecom Claims 5G Trial Milestone.)
SKT is working with Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), Samsung Corp. , Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) and "a few others" on 5G technology. (See SKT, Nokia Hit 19.1 Gbit/s in 5G Test.)
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading