Under the 5G agreement, Ericsson will provide SKT with 5G New Radio (NR) radio, baseband, and Ericsson Network Management systems for its 5G commercial network launch.
The 5G field demonstration used a broader bandwidth on a commercial frequency, which was made available for operators in South Korea on December 1. The demo included a video call and streaming using SKT’s 5G commercial network, Ericsson’s commercial Ericsson Radio System products and a mobile smartphone form-factor test device powered by the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ X50 5G modem and antenna modules with integrated RF transceiver, RF front-end and antenna elements.
The data call transmitted over the 100 MHz-wide bandwidth on 3.5 GHz spectrum and was the first field test using a broader bandwidth on 3.5 GHz. Access to new and wider frequency bands will bring higher peak throughput and more capacity needed especially in metropolitan areas to cater for the growing mobile data traffic. According to Ericsson Mobility Report, mobile data traffic growth is expected to increase five-fold between 2018 and 2024.
Jongkwan Park, SVP, Head of 5GX Labs, ICT R&D Center SK Telecom, says: “SK Telecom is proud to make the first 5G video call in our Busan 5G commercial network with Ericsson’s commercial radio equipment and Qualcomm Technologies’ mobile smartphone form-factor test device. This call was based on NR, over-the-air connection with 100 MHz of bandwidth in 3.5 GHz spectrum, which is a significant milestone for the mobile industry. SK Telecom will launch 5G commercial services with 5G smartphones, built on the collaborative work with Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies, in the first half of 2019.”
Per Narvinger, Head of Product Area Networks, says: “Ericsson and SKT have a close cooperation around 5G innovation and have been working on bringing the technology to commercial reality since 2016. Now we have taken another important step with SKT and Qualcomm Technologies in this multi-vendor technology demonstration on a broader bandwidth, which will benefit consumers and enterprises alike. We will continue to work closely with SKT’s teams to realize the commercial launch of their next-generation network.”
Ericsson and SKT’s collaboration to bring 5G commercialization includes reaching several milestones. In February 2017, the companies demonstrated the first intercontinental 5G trial network, where network slices were made available in the two operators' footprint. The companies also conducted several multi-vehicular 5G trials, which won industry recognition. They also recently successfully completed a 5G interworking test among preferred vendors.