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SK Telecom becomes the First in the World to provide the 3-band CA Commercial Service - KT runs the Trial Group
12/29/2014 | By An Ho-cheon (hcan@etnews.com)

SK Telecom starts the 3-band carrier aggregation (CA) commercial service for the first time in the world. KT decided to operate 3-band CA trial zones. The 3-band CA is a technology for combining three different bands of frequencies to increase the download speed to 300Mbps. Mobile carriers have been fiercely competing to become the first to commercialize this technology. The product used for this service is the 'Galaxy Note 4 S-LTE' unveiled by Samsung Electronics.


SK Telecom announced that it would start the '3-band LTE-A' commercial service through a consumer evaluation team on December 29 for the first time in the world. This technology provides service 4 times faster than the existing LTE through a total of 40㎒ bandwidth, i.e. 10㎒, 10㎒ and 20㎒. It takes only 28 seconds to download a 1GB movie.

SK Telecom will organize a consumer evaluation team, and use the limited-edition Galaxy Note 4 S-LTE to provide commercial service. The handset is expected to be priced higher than KRW950,000. The evaluation team will receive the official subsidy for the handset, have the terminal activated, use it, evaluate actual transmission speed and stability, and state their opinions.

SK Telecom said that it would start commercial service through the consumer evaluation team to enhance the value that customers can feel rather than simply providing faster communication speed. SK Telecom customers can use the 3-band LTE-A service while keeping their existing LTE plan.

SK Telecom has been working closely with chip, smartphone network equipment manufacturers, e.g. operating a taskforce team, to start the world's first 3-band CA commercial service. Among the 584 service providers in 168 countries, which commercialized LTE, SK Telecom is the first to start the 3-band CA service on a commercial network.

Commercial service will be provided in earnest in the first quarter of 2015. SK Telecom is planning to build more than 26,000 2.1㎓ base stations, the largest number in Korea, in the first quarter.

“SK Telecom has been leading mobile communication technology development for the past 30 years,” said Lee Jong-bong, head of the Network Division of SK Telecom. “We will provide differentiated value becoming our reputation as No. 1 mobile carrier by providing high-quality service.”

Meanwhile, KT announced that it would make an experience zone in the Olleh Square in Gwanghwamun, and provide the 'Broadband LTE-A X4' trial service, the 3-band CA service, for a trial group consisting of college students. The handset is the same as that of SK Telecom, the Galaxy Note 4 S-LTE. LG Uplus said that it would commercialize the 3-band CA technology using an LGE terminal in early January. An LG Uplus insider said, “As the network technology necessary for commercialization, is already developed, commercial service will start immediately as the terminal is released.”

As mobile carriers have different positions on the ‘first commercialization in the world,’ there may be some disputes. Some mobile carrier insiders pointed out that, as only a limited quantity of the Galaxy Note 4 S-LTE is supplied to the trial users, it cannot not be viewed as an official version released for general users.

“The mobile carriers are doing all they can to win the title of the first company in the world to commercialize the 3-band CA technology,” said an industry insider. “The official terminal for general users will be able to be released in mid-January.” 




Related Netmanias Content


[PDF]  Netmanias ONE-SHOT: LTE/LTE-A Commercialization in Korea (Jan. 1, 2015)



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