SK Telecom plans to invest $1.8 billion in national LTE network

SK Telecom plans to invest $1.8 billion in national LTE network

South Korean mobile operator SK Telecom is to invest $1.8 billion to build a national LTE network, according to Reuters.

SK Telecom is carrying out investment plans to deal with the widespread increase in data traffic from the smartphone. It had originally planned to launch LTE services in 2013 but with the increased use of mobile data it may bring plans forward to cope with the growth.

Mobile penetration in South Korea has grown significantly over the last three years and reached 100% in 2010. The introduction of the iPhone in 2009 has meant the smartphone market has been boosted as a result. The company further predicts smartphone penetration will reach 42% in 2011, a huge increase compared to 2% in 2009.

The Reuters report cites the company plans to launch commercial LTE networks in Seoul in July this year with an expected 200,000 LTE signing on to the service by Q4 2011.

SK Telecom has also announced its investment in WiMAX provider, Packer One Networks (P1) in Malaysia. The company is going to invest $16.5 million as the company is expected to grow threefold over the next two years.

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