Tuesday, January 25, 2011

SK Telecom Details its LTE Architecture

South Korea's SK Telecom has selected Samsung Electronics, LG-Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks as key equipment suppliers for its upcoming LTE network. SK Telecom anticipates launching 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. SK Telecom said it made the selection based on price and compatibility with other suppliers.

SK Telecom will adopt its own Smart Cloud Access Network (SCAN) architecture to optimize its rollout. A base station largely consists of Digital Unit (DU) and Radio Unit (RU). With the SCAN architecture, 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. The carrier said this cloud-based network design enables multiple RRUs to be installed according to varying network capacity needs of each area.

SK Telecom is currently awaiting approval from the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) to utilize its 800 MHz spectrum for its LTE service. The 800 MHz band would provide SK Telecom will good penetration underground and inside of buildings.

SK Telecom will start initially offer LTE data modems with the service launch in July. LTE smartphones and tablet PCs are expected by the end of this year. The LTE smartphones will use the existing 3G network for voice service and the LTE network for data service using the DBDM (Dual Band Dual Mode) format. Until the company secures nationwide coverage for LTE, all the LTE devices will be launched in DBDM formats. In the areas where LTE coverage is not secured, SK Telecom will offer seamless data service through its current WCDMA networks.

SK Telecom also plans to boost network capacity in small areas by deploying 62,000 Wi-Fi zones and over 10,000 femtocells. This will require the installation of 45,000 Wi-Fi this year, 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. Furthermore, the 6-sector solutions, which can double the capacity of current base stations, will be expanded to 500 base stations this year from 20 base stations beta-tested at the end of last year.

Bae Joon-Dong, President and Head of Network CIC of SK Telecom, said: "We're very excited with this major milestone. As we begin this journey in the evolution of our wireless network, we are delighted to partner with top LTE equipment suppliers to build our 4G network. Once we have full-pledged service, we expect huge market demand and a new wave of mobile innovation with higher quality multimedia contents and advanced smart devices."http://www.sktelecom.com