SK Telecom demos LTE, to launch LTE in July 2011

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SK Telecom has held a 4G LTE network demonstration in South Korea at its Bundang Building's LTE Test-bed and plan to introduce innovative LTE services in July 2011.

During demonstration, the company compared speeds of 4G LTE and 3G WCDMA; showcased LTE-based 3D video streaming and high definition video content download/ streaming; and demonstrated high definition video call between two handsets, one located in a moving bus and the other in the Bundang Building.

SK Telecom plans to begin providing commercial 4G LTE services in Seoul in July this year and upgrade its LTE networks to LTE-Advanced (LTE-A), the technology standard of which is expected to be completed by June 2011. The pace of this network evolution will be flexibly implemented, taking account customers' demand for data.

SK Telecom plans to adopt its own cloud-based network technology named Smart Cloud Access Network (SCAN) to set up its LTE network. With SCAN, SK Telecom successfully separated Digital Unit (DU) and Radio Unit (RU), the two main components of a base station. DUs will be stored together in one area, while Remote Radio Units (RRU) - along with the antenna - will be set up in various locations, thereby enhancing network operation efficiency. Also, with full-fledged application of cloud computing technology, the network will be able to flexibly and seamlessly handle mobile data traffic that varies by time and region.

The company also announced early application of Coordinated Multi-Point (CoMP) technology to its LTE network. CoMP will prevent base station interference and abrupt call disconnections in coverage boundary areas by enhancing signal strength, the lack of which leads to significant drop in data transmission speed. Most mobile carriers are planning to adopt this technology to LTE-A networks.

SK Telecom will pursue early development of LTE femtocell to enhance underground and indoor coverage of its LTE networks. 3G femtocell is currently being applied to the company's networks to improve voice and data quality.

SK Telecom will also provide flawless coverage from the early stage of LTE roll-out by utilizing widespread 2G repeaters as it plans to provide LTE service in the 800MHz frequency band, which it used for 2G (CDMA) service. Since the beginning of its 2G service, the company has been operating many repeaters - equipment that repeats radio signals to enable seamless communication - installed throughout the city center including inside of buildings. Thus, utilization of 2G (800MHz) repeaters will allow 4G LTE service users to enjoy seamless service from the initial stage just like the users of 2G service.

The company plans to expand its LTE coverage to 23 cities including the Seoul Metropolitan Area and other Metropolitan cities as soon as possible and provide nationwide coverage (82 cities) in 2013. Moreover, SK Telecom unveiled plans to upgrade LTE networks to LTE-A networks in 2013 to further enhance data communications speed and capacity.

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