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SK Telecom claims first commercial 2G/3G over LTE

Ericsson and Quallcomm partner on carrier aggregation

South Korean telco SK Telecom has announced the launch of what it claims is the world’s first commercialised 2G/3G over LTE technology, enabling 2G and 3G services through LTE network. The operator said it expects the technology to improve service stability, and enhance network building and operation capabilities.

SK said the improved stability is achieved as the technology utilises LTE as backhaul instead of fixed-line 2G/3G infrastructure. Even if the fixed-line network is damaged due to road construction or a natural disaster, for example, service for 2G and 3G customer can be restored via the LTE network.

SK Telecom also said with the help of this technology the LTE network could replace a carrier’s redundant fibre-optic transmission networks, which mobile operators often build in case of emergencies. Similarly, the technology could help those who fall short in fixed-line infrastructure.

“With 2G/3G over LTE, SK Telecom’s 2G and 3G customers will be able to experience a more stable and seamless service,” SK Telecom VP and Head of Network Engineering Choi Seung-won said. “Our efforts will continue to keep improving customer satisfaction through new and innovative technologies that enhance the quality of service for all our customers.”

The operator said it managed to successfully develop 2G/3G over LTE after resolving the challenge of connecting 2G/3G voice network to its data-only LTE network. It said it plans to implement the technology to 600 base stations by 2016.

It is not surprising to see this kind of technology development taking place in South Korea, a country where people are accustomed to and expect high network service quality. South Korea is constantly rushing ahead with speeds that many of us can only dream of for the time being. SK Telecom also claimed to have been the first to launch a commercial LTE Advanced services back in June 2013.


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