SK Telecom: Over-the-Air Transmission on Multi-Vendor Commercial Stand Alone 5G Network

SK Telecom today announced that it has successfully accomplished the world’s first standalone (SA) 5G data session on its multi-vendor commercial 5G network in South Korea.

Editor Notes:

1.  T-Mobile claimed they were the first carrier to successfully test 5G SA operation which we covered in this article:  T-Mobile Claim: 1st Standalone 5G Data Session on a Multi-Vendor Radio and Core Network.

2.  Definition: 5G Stand Alone (SA) refers to using 5G specifications (in cells/base stations and endpoints) for both signalling and information transfer.  All 5G deployments to date use NSA operation which uses 4G-LTE signaling and 4G-Evolved Packet Core (EPC) as well as LTE network management

SA operation requires the new 5G Packet Core (5GC) architecture from 3GPP instead of relying on the EPC to allow the deployment of 5G without the LTE network.

Ericsson provides 5G Standalone 5G facts:

  • New cloud-native 5G Core
  • Simplified RAN and device architecture
  • The only option to provide same 5G coverage for low band as legacy system
  • Supports advanced network-slicing functions (not standardized yet – may be in 3GPP Release 16)
  • Facilitates a wider range of use cases for new devices
  • Brings ultra-low latency  (that won’t happen to completion of 3GPP Release 16 in June 2020 if then)

3. South Korea was the first country in the world to launch 5G services and currently has some of the most wide ranging 5G networks anywhere in the world.  That’s largely due to government co-ordination with the three large South Korean wireless network operators – SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus.

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With this major breakthrough in 5G, SK Telecom says it is now fully set to provide standalone 5G services. SK Telecom said that it plans to launch the world’s first 5G SA service in the first half of this year.

The standalone 5G data call took place on January 16, 2020 in Busan, the second largest city in Korea, using SK Telecom’s commercial 5G network deployed in that region.

To achieve this standalone 5G milestone, the company applied standalone 5G New Radio (NR) software to its existing non-standalone (NSA) 5G base stations, and completed multi-vendor interoperability between network equipment of Ericsson and Samsung.

SK Telecom has also applied key 5G technologies such as network slicing and mobile edge computing (MEC) to its standalone 5G network. Network slicing is being highlighted as an essential technology for providing optimal support for different types of 5G services by partitioning a single physical network into multiple virtual mobile networks. MEC minimizes latency by providing a shortcut for data transmission through installation of small-scale data center at 5G base station or router. MEC can improve the performance of ultra-low latency 5G services such as cloud gaming, smart factory and autonomous driving.

“With the successful standalone 5G data call on our multi-vendor commercial 5G network, we are now standing on the threshold of launching standalone 5G service, a key enabler of revolutionary changes and innovations in all industries,” said Park Jong-kwan, Vice President and Head of 5GX Labs of SK Telecom. “SK Telecom will offer the best 5G networks and services to realize a whole new level of customer experience in the 5G era.”

About SK Telecom

SK Telecom (NYSE: SKM) 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.

For more information, please contact skt_press@sk.com or sktelecom@bcw-global.com.

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Related—Big 3 Korean carriers vow to offer seamless telecom service during lunar new year:

Korea’s big three mobile network operators have committed to provide “seamless” connectivity over the Korean Lunar New Year festivities, according to reports in the Korean press.

SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus all committed to provide extra capacity in their networks over the Seollal period, as Koreans travel home for the holiday, placing extra strain on the country’s networks, particularly in public spaces such as train stations and along the country’s roads.

“To respond to possible data traffic jams, LG Uplus checked out base stations for 4G and 5G networks and will run an emergency situation room. We will also increase the number of technicians for highly-populated areas such as airports,” the company told journalists from the Korea Times.

SK Telecom predicted that it would see a 24 per cent hike in data traffic over the holiday period, as vacationing Koreans make use of high demand services like UHD video streaming and geolocation services. SK Telecom identified 750 busy areas that will receive special attention over the period, while KT said that it would be proactively managing traffic in 970 locations across the country.

All three mobile network operators have said that they will have more technicians and service staff working over the holiday to help them cope with the increase in demand.

Image result for SK Telecom 5G Stand Alone

Technicians of SK Telecom check network quality at an airport, Sunday. Photo Courtesy of SK Telecom

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LG Uplus will also run an emergency response center at its office in Magok, western Seoul during the holiday.

The company has completed inspections of 4G and 5G base stations installed at highway rest areas, SRT and KTX train stations and bus terminals throughout the country.

“To respond to possible data traffic jams, LG Uplus checked out base stations for 4G and 5G networks and will run an emergency situation room. We will also increase the number of technicians for highly-populated areas such as airports,” the company said.

KT designated 970 places including highways, department stores, bus terminals, airports, train stations and other busy areas in the country as data quality management zones.

South Korea was the first country in the world to launch 5G commercial services with the big three wireless carriers doing so on the same day.

References:

https://www.commsmea.com/tech

nology/infrastructure/21305-korean-operators-band-together-to-bolster-4g-and-5g-connectivity-over-lunar-new-year

https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/tech/2020/01/133_282175.html

One thought on “SK Telecom: Over-the-Air Transmission on Multi-Vendor Commercial Stand Alone 5G Network

  1. KT Corporation, along with Samsung Medical Center (SMC), have announced the launch of a 5G-enabled medical service as an initial step to setup a 5G-based smart hospital. The pilot project, which is developed by the Seoul-based South Korean telecom giant, developed service environments in operating and proton therapy rooms and performed a test operation.

    Based on the results from the pilot, both KT, formerly Korea Telecom, and SMC are planning to continue the development of smart patient care and 5G-powered new medical practices and better the hospital operational efficiency. Park In-Young, vice president of KT’s ICT convergence business department, said: “KT, in partnership with the Samsung Medical Center, is pioneering innovative medical services for the new 5G era. We will continue to further refine 5G-powered medical technology by applying VR and AR technologies for real-time education.”

    In the coming years, 5G-enabled medical services would in theory speed up surgery and other treatment processes by allowing uninterrupted access to surgeons that will help them obtain pathological data that is critical in determining the serious conditions of patients. The network would also provide quick access to CT and MRI data on proton therapy.

    Last September, KT entered into roaming agreements with Italy’s TIM, Switzerland’s Sunrise, and Finland’s Elisa, allowing the company’s 5G subscribers to use the 5G networks provided by the three European operators. The Korean operator has standing agreements with operators in 185 countries for 3G and LTE roaming and now is extending those contracts to 5G as soon as 5G services go live in those countries.

    According to reports from the South Korean Ministry of Science and ICT, the country hit the milestone of four million 5G subscribers last December. As of October, the Ministry reported 3.98 million 5G subscribers in the country and in September, it said that 516,000 more people subscribed to the 5G services.

    https://www.telecomstechnews.com/news/2020/jan/20/kt-and-samsung-develop-5g-powered-medical-service/

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