SK Telecom transmits first 5G live broadcast

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SK Telecom has achieved what it claims is the world’s first live TV broadcast running over a commercial 5G network.

The Korean telecoms company aired a Korean New Year’s celebration, which was held in Seoul, live on entertainment channel XtvN using its commercial 5G network which was switched on on 1 December 2018.

SK Telecom used its “T Live Caster” broadcasting solution, which enables live broadcasts from smartphones to TV channels using 5G and LTE, to broadcast the event, which was held at Bosingak – a large bell pavilion in the Jongro-gu region of Seoul. The broadcast lasted for 11 minutes.

The video of the Bosingak event - which was taken by smartphone cameras installed with the ‘T Live Caster’ app and connected to a 5G mobile routers - was transmitted through 5G base stations and XtvN’s transmission system to reach cable and IPTV viewers of XtvN.

SK Telecom said the transmission had latency of less than one second – similar to that of existing wired broadcasting systems.

“With today’s successful live TV broadcasting over commercial 5G network, SK Telecom ushers in a new era of 5G-based media services,” said Choi Nak-hoon, Senior Vice President and Head of 5GX IoT/Data Group of SK Telecom. “In this new era, individual creators will be able to provide high-quality live broadcast anytime, anywhere, via 5G smartphones.”

SK Telecom also pledged to continue promoting 5G innovations in the media industry, including plans to interconnect its T Live Caster solution with personal broadcasting systems later this year.

Korea has been at the forefront of 5G innovations, with all three of its major operators switchin on 5G networks simultaneously in December.

SKT, LG Uplus and KT all turned on fixed wireless access (FWA) networks based on 3GPP 5G standards at midnight on 1 December, offering the service to business users.

SK Telecom’s 5G network will initially operate in 13 cities and countries nationwide , including Seoul, four cities in Gyeonggi-do (Seongnam, An-san, Hwaseong, Siheung), six metropolitan cities, Seogwipo in Jeju Island, and Ullengdo and Dokdo Islands in Ulleng county. Korea Telecom switch on its service initially in Seoul which LG Uplus plans to expand its 5G service to 85 cities by the end of 2019.