Friday, July 1, 2011

SK Telecom Launches LTE with Cloud RAN and CoMP Capabilities

SK Telecom inaugurated its 4G LTE service in Seoul on July 1, 2011.

The network will provide a maximum downlink speed of 75Mbps, which is five times faster than that of its 3G WCDMA network (HSUPA) and 1.9 times faster than Wibro that provides maximum downlink speed of 39.8Mbps and maximum uplink speed of 10Mbps. The network uses the 800 MHz band. The company plans to expand the frequency bandwidth for LTE from one-way 5MHz (at the time of service launch) to 10MHz by the fourth quarter of 2011 to achieve the full downlink potential.

The LTE rollout in Seoul was accomplished by building 1,772 Radio Units (RU) and 609 Digital Units (DU). In addition to this, the company will also use its 200,000 existing 800MHz repeaters to offer seamless and flawless 4G LTE service in all areas of Seoul, including underground and indoor areas.

SK Telecom said it expects to attract 300,000 LTE subscribers in 2011, 6 million by 2013, and 10 million by 2015. Eleven 11 devices are expected to be on the market by year's end.

SK Telecom is working on LTE roll-outs in 23 cities including the Seoul Metropolitan area and six metropolitan cities by early next year, and secure national coverage (82 cities) by 2013. SK Telecom also said that the national coverage could become a reality earlier than planned depending on the market situation. Moreover, the company expects to introduce LTE-Advanced, the download speed of which reaches 1Gbps, in around 2013, by upgrading its LTE networks.

In addition, SK Telecom said it is leveraging cloud network technology in its LTE networks to flexibly handle wireless data demand that differs by time and region.

SK Telecom also claims to the first carrier in the world to use Coordinated Multi-Point (CoMP) technology to prevent the degradation of data speed coverage in cell boundary areas.http://

  • In January 2011, South Korea's SK Telecom announced the selection of Samsung Electronics, LG-Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks as key equipment suppliers for its LTE network.

    Samsung Electronics and LG-Ericsson are supplying 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 has adopted 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 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.