SK Telecom with Swisscom: World’s First “5G” Roaming Service

SK Telecom announced today that it will begin the world’s first 5G roaming service [1] from midnight KST on July 16 through a strategic partnership with Swisscom, the largest telecommunications provider in Switzerland.

Note 1.  Not only is there no standard for “5G’ roaming (or even signaling.control plane), but there are no standards for anything related to 5G radio and non radio aspects.  Hence, this “5G’ roaming agreement is specific to these two carriers.  They have obviously agreed on a roaming/handoff spec for 5G NR (3GPP Rel 15) in the data plane and LTE signaling in the control plane.

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Swisscom, which boasts over 6 million mobile subscriptions, started to roll out its 5G network on April 17th. The company currently provides 5G service in 110 cities and villages including Zurich, Geneva and Bern as well as rural and touristic areas.

SK Telecom’s customers using Samsung Galaxy S10 5G smartphone will be able to use 5G roaming service through Swisscom when visiting Switzerland after upgrading their devices with the latest software update. In the future, SK Telecom plans to provide software upgrades to LG V50 users and further expand 5G roaming service to other countries around the globe.

“SK Telecom once again proved its leadership in advanced roaming technology with the launch of world’s first 5G roaming service” said Han Myung-jin, Vice President and Head of MNO Business Supporting Group of SK Telecom. “We will continuously expand our 5G roaming service to enhance customer experience and benefits.”

Meanwhile, with the aim to enable its customers to make and receive high-quality, free-of-charge international roaming voice calls while travelling to 171 countries across the world, SK Telecom launched ‘baro’ on December 17, 2018. As of June 2019, ‘baro’ has attracted 2.2 million users and 38 million cumulative calls (total of 800,000 hours of voice calls). Moreover, ‘baro’ won the ‘Best Mobile Technology Breakthrough in Asia’ award at the 2019 Asia Mobile Awards held as part of MWC19 Shanghai.

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About SK Telecom:

SK Telecom is the largest mobile operator in Korea with nearly 50 percent of the market share. As the pioneer of all generations of mobile networks, the company has commercialized the fifth generation (5G) network on December 1, 2018 and announced the first 5G smartphone subscribers on April 3, 2019. With its world’s best 5G, SK Telecom is set to realize the Age of Hyper-Innovation by transforming the way customers work, live and play.

Building on its strength in mobile services, the company is also creating unprecedented value in diverse ICT-related markets including media, security and commerce.

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For more information, please contact:

skt_press@sk.com or sktelecom@bcw-global.com.

About Swisscom:

Swisscom, Switzerland’s leading telecoms company and one of its leading IT companies, is headquartered in Ittigen, close to the capital city Berne. Outside Switzerland, Swisscom has a presence on the Italian market in the guise of Fastweb. About 20,000 employees generated sales of CHF 2’860 million to the end of the 1st Quarter 2019. It is 51% Confederation-owned and is one of Switzerland’s most sustainable and innovative companies.

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Media Contacts:

Yong-jae Lee

SK Telecom Co. Ltd.

(822) 6100 3838

(8210) 3129 6880

yjlee6880@sk.com

Irene Kim

SK Telecom Co. Ltd.

(822) 6100 3867

(8210) 8936 0062

gahaekim@sk.com

Ha-young Lee

BCW Korea

(822) 3782 6421

Hayoung.Lee@bcw-global.com

3 thoughts on “SK Telecom with Swisscom: World’s First “5G” Roaming Service

  1. From SK Telecom earnings press release:

    Since launching the world’s first 5G smartphone service on April 3, 2019, SK Telecom has taken up the largest 5G market share in Korea by securing 530,000 5G subscribers as of the end of June 2019.

    SK Telecom has been carrying out company-wide efforts to allow 5G subscribers to experience stable network and differentiated service benefits.

    The company started the world’s first 5G roaming service with Swisscom on July 17 and launched three innovative 5G AR and VR services to deliver immersive eSports broadcasting experience on July 26.

    In the second half of this year, SK Telecom plans to build multiple 5G clusters – equipped with premium network quality and innovative services – in main areas across the nation to shift the competition paradigm of the telecommunications industry centered around 5G services.

    The company expects the number of its 5G subscribers to surpass 2 million this year.

  2. SK Telecom (SKT) declared itself the 5G king of South Korea after signing up more than half a million subscribers to the service in just under three months.

    Operators in the country launched their next-generation offers simultaneously on 3 April, with total user numbers reckoned to have broken 1 million after two months.

    In its Q2 earnings statement, SKT said it ended the quarter with 503,000 users, giving it the “largest 5G market share” in the country. This contributed to a 1 per cent rise in total mobile subscribers year-on-year to 31 million at end-June (including MVNO and other connections).

    However, SKT’s 5G success appeared to be a double-edged sword, bringing with it higher marketing expenses and costs associated with licensing fees which dragged on operating income at its mobile communications business.

    The operator continued to build its 5G offer following the close of the quarter, penning a roaming deal with Swisscom and launching three AR and VR services using the technology in July. During the remainder of the year, it plans to build “multiple 5G clusters” in major areas of the country, offering “premium network quality and innovative services”, moves it expects will take its total users beyond 2 million by end-December.

    SKT said 5G had a positive sequential impact on mobile revenue during Q2, though the KRW2.44 trillion ($2 billion) generated was down 2.5 per cent year-on-year.

    At group level, net profit fell 71.7 per cent to KRW259.1 billion due to a “lower equity method income on SK Hynix”, while revenue grew 6.8 per cent to KRW4.4 trillion.

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