SK Telecom steps up LTE speeds

South Korean LTE-A pioneer SK Telecom said Monday that it has begun offering faster services using the 1.8GHz spectrum it acquired last month.

With its 35MHz of 1800MHz spectrum, SKT has split the allocation with 20MHz on the downlink and 15MHz on the uplink, allowing the company to upgrade its LTE download speeds to 150Mbps for all users of over 20 existing LTE devices including Vega Racer 2, Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5, without charging users any more. The operator plans to expand the service to cover the entire Seoul area by the end of October.

SK Telecom acquired additional bandwidth at the end of August 2013 and has used it to launch an enhanced LTE service in the Mapo District in Seoul, before extending it to the 11 major districts of the Korean capital over the next few weeks.

The operator plans to expand the service to the Seoul Metropolitan Area by November, and then to six metropolitan cities by March 2014. Nationwide coverage of the service is expected to be in place by July 2014.

The operator added that all LTE-Advanced devices will operate on the wider LTE bandwidth, while users of LTE devices  that support 1.8 GHz will also benefit from improved speeds of up to 100Mbps without having to pay any extra fees.

Last week, SK Telecom announced that it had completed lab tests of NSN’s Liquid Applications technology over LTE, enabling the carrier to deliver media-rich services and content directly from the base station.

But SKT is not planning to stop there. Using Carrier Aggregation technologies the company intends to combine its bandwidth allocation in the 1800MHz band where it has 20MHz bandwidth and the 800MHz band where it has 10MHz to offer downlink speeds of up to 225Mbps by next year.

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