SK Telecom Picks Vendors to Build LTE Network

in News, LG-Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks, Samsung, SK TELECOM, Femtocell, LTE

SK Telecom has selected Samsung Electronics, LG-Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks as key equipment suppliers for its 4G LTE network. The company will begin providing commercial LTE services in Seoul by July this year and plans to expand the service to the Seoul metropolitan area and six other metropolitan cities by 2012. The service will become nationwide by 2013.

Samsung Electronics and LG-Ericsson will supply switching equipment while all three companies will provide base station equipment. The company began benchmark quality tests of equipment in September 2010 and chose its partners based on price and compatibility with other suppliers.

SK Telecom plans to apply the multi-vendor interoperability technology in order to simultaneously use different vendors' switching equipment and base station equipment to service one area. This will allow SK Telecom to select optimized equipment according to different network coverage levels, thus creating a higher quality LTE network.

SK Telecom will adopt its own Smart Cloud Access Network (SCAN) method to set up a truly effective and integrated LTE network. A base station largely consists of Digital Unit (DU) and Radio Unit (RU). With SK Telecom's SCAN method, LTE network DUs will be stored together in one area, while Remote Radio Units (RRU) - along with the antenna - will be set up in various locations.

According to SK Telecom, SCAN is a highly effective cloud-based network deployment method especially optimized for wireless communication as multiple RRUs can be installed according to varying network capacity needs of each area.

Furthermore, upon receiving approval from the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) to utilize the 800 MHz bandwidth for LTE service, SK Telecom plans to provide flawless LTE service underground and inside of buildings from beginning of deployment.

SK Telecom will start offering data modems with plans to commercialize LTE network for the first time in Korea in July. Additional plans to launch diverse LTE devices including smartphones and tablet PCs by end of this year are underway.

LTE smartphones will use 3G network for voice service and LTE network for data service through DBDM (Dual Band Dual Mode) format. Until the company secures nationwide coverage for LTE, all the LTE devices will be launched in DBDM formats. 

SK Telecom plans to handle data traffic flawlessly in small areas by increasing the number of Wi-Fi zones to 62,000 this year and by deploying additional 45,000 Wi-Fi zones by the end of 2011, as well as expanding the 1,000 femtocells deployed last year to 10,000 femtocells. Also, SK telecom plans to offer femtocells that can handle voice and data traffic at the same time in small areas. 

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