SK Telecom, Vendors Big Up Millimeter Wave for 5G

High-frequency "millimeter wave" radio technology is further shaping up as one of the foundations of 5G.

SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM) and Samsung Corp. have set up a millimeter wave system at the operator's new "5G Test Bed" in its Bundang research and development building in South Korea. WhowiredKorea reports that this is the first ever millimeter wave system to be deployed at an operator's own facilities. (See Q&A: SK Telecom Talks All Things 5G.)

SKT has been working with Samsung on 5G development since October 2014. The operator has similar agreements with Ericsson-LG , Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) (See Ericsson-LG, SKT Team on 5G, NFV R&D and SK Telecom, Ericsson Team Up on 5G Network Slicing.)

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In the US, meanwhile, Samsung is asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to consider licensing the LMDS Band (27.5GHz to 28.35GHz, 29.1GHZ to 29.25GHz and 31GHZ to 31.3GHz), the 32 GHz band, the 39 GHz band, the 37 GHz to 41 GHz band and the 60 GHz band for future 5G services. (See Spectrum Muddle at the 5G Huddle and 60GHz: A Frequency to Watch.)

The FCC has been asking for comments on using millimeter waves for 5G. Millimeter wave is defined as any services using frequencies between 30GHz and 300GHz. These are much higher frequencies than today's 3G and 4G services are deployed on. (See Helping Millimeter Wave Achieve Its Potential.)

For its part, Nokia is telling the FCC that there is "industry traction" behind the E-Band (70GHz to 80GHz) being used for 5G. The E-Band delivers a "large contiguous bandwidth (1-2 GHz) [and] can meet 5G requirements of 10 Gbit/s peak rate and 100 Mbit/s-1Gbit/s Cell edge rates," Nokia says in a filing.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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