SK Telecom signs deals to improve LTE-A coverage and performance

South Korean operator SK Telecom has announced two deals with European kit vendors as it looks to expand and develop its LTE and LTE-Advanced network services.

The operator has expanded its LTE-Advanced service across South Korea using equipment supplied by Ericsson and signed a memorandum of understanding with German radio test and measurement equipment manufacturer Rohde & Schwarz to develop next-generation antenna technologies.

In June this year, the operator launched its LTE-Advanced service at no additional retail cost, having introduced Carrier Aggregation and Coordinated Multi Point technologies into its network. SK said that the service enabled network speeds of up to 150 Mbps, which is twice as fast as its base LTE offering and ten times faster than 3G speeds.

It has now teamed with Ericsson’s Korean arm Ericsson-LG to expand its service from 42 cities to 84 cities nationwide, including the entire Seoul metropolitan area and six other major cities. The two firms plan to deploy 32,000 LTE-Advanced base stations across the nation by the end of the year, Ericsson said.

The LTE Asia conference is taking place on the 18th-19th September 2013 at the Suntec, Singapore. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

Ericsson will also provide the software for carrier aggregation and multi-carrier technology for the 850MHz and 1.8GHz bands in South Korea’s south-eastern regions, where Ericsson partnered with SK Telecom for the LTE network deployment in 2011.

The deal follows an MoU on research and development collaboration signed by the operator and vendor signed an MoU in February.

SK Telecom signed another Memorandum of Understanding this week, with Rohde & Schwarz on joint research and development of next-generation antenna technologies.  The two will work together to create a testbed for Active Antenna System (AAS), a core technology in the next-generation antenna system, for performance verification; and to conduct research and development activities for next-generation antenna system equipment. Rohde & Schwarz will provide SK Telecom with signal generator and radio network analyzer.

SK Telecom added that it has also been focusing on the research and development of a next-generation antenna system since 2011 as it looks to improve data speeds.

The firm said that the AAS antenna technology, which can be applied to all types of networks including LTE-Advanced, is also capable of increasing the number of radio channels between a base station and handset by several times to tens of times.

“With the application of AAS, customers will be able to experience high-quality service even in areas of high data traffic as the antenna can coordinate the amount of radio signals to be sent from the base station,” the firm said.


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