SK Telecom and Samsung collaborate on mmWave development

Korean tech giants SK Telecom and Samsung Electronics have announced a collaboration aimed at supporting the development of millimeter-wave (mmWave) technology.

The companies are inevitably positioning the technology as a key 5G enabler. Viewed as a potential solution to the looming capacity crunch, mmWave uses higher frequencies (30GHz+) than current licensed spectrum, which offer faster data speeds. The flip side is that those frequencies have insufficient range to be used in macro cells and so would need to be deployed on a small cell basis – mainly for office buildings, shopping malls, etc.

The two companies have been collaborating on pre-5G technologies for a while, having demoed 3D Beamforming at MWC this year and deployed NFV for IoT previously. SK Telecom has actually built a mmWave system at its R&D centre, thus allowing it to make the lofty claim of being the first Korean mobile operator to install 5G equipment in its building.

“Through close collaboration with a global ICT player Samsung Electronics, SK Telecom is pleased to launch the mmWave system where we can develop and verify mmWave technologies,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, CTO and Head of SK Telecom’s corporate R&D centre. “SK Telecom and Samsung Electronics will further strengthen joint R&D efforts to lead the upcoming 5G era.”

“Through long-standing collaboration with the Korea’s largest mobile operator SK Telecom, Samsung Electronics has been developing the most advanced telecommunication systems,” said Cheun Kyung-whoon, Executive Vice of DMC R&D Center at Samsung Electronics. “We will continue to work closely with SK Telecom to lead the development of 5G technologies.”

South Korea is clearly very keen to maintain its position at the cutting edge of new mobile network technologies, as demonstrated by the preoccupation with 5G in the above quotes. As a consequence there is a lot of activity and collaboration in this area from big Korean companies and they do seem to be setting the pace when it comes to 5G R&D.

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