SK Telecom rolls out 34,000 base stations in preparation for upcoming 5G launch

03 April 2019 | Natalie Bannerman

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South Korea is on track to become the first country to offer commercial mobile 5G services when its three MNOs launch their services later this week.

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

As of 2 April, SK Telecom confirmed that it has built 34,000 units of 5G base stations, stating that its 5G network is the best in terms of coverage, speed and safety. The deployment took place in data traffic-concentrated areas, including main areas of 85 cities across the country. These included Seoul, six metro cities, university districts, KTX, sports stadiums, expressways, subway lines (Seoul and Seoul Metropolitan Area) and beaches.

In addition, the company said it is concentrating on expanding in-building coverage on 120 department stores, shopping malls and airports throughout the country leveraging its self-developed Total In-building Solution,that delivers provides four times faster in-building data rates than its competitors by using four antennas of a smartphone.

Using 4G-5G dual connectivity technology, SK Telecom’s 5G network can support up to 2.7Gbps in throughput and has been designed to support ultra-low latency services such as smart factory and autonomous driving.

In the second half of 2019, SK Telecom says it will expand 5G network coverage to nationwide subways, national parks and festival sites. 

The announcement was made during the SK Telecom 5G Launching Showcase that took place in Seoul. It was there that the company also announced that it has secured around 8,000 different pieces of content in the areas of AR, VR and gaming to name a few.

“The AR, VR and cloud games unveiled today only mark the beginning of the age of Hyper-Innovation brought by 5G,” said Park Jung-ho, CEO of SK Telecom. “SK Telecom will continue to introduce 5G-based innovative services to lead all areas of New ICT.”