SK Telecom edges closer to 5G SA commercial launch

Guy Daniels
By Guy Daniels

Jul 2, 2019

© SK Telecom

© SK Telecom

  • SK Telecom and Samsung complete 5G SA interoperability tests
  • Standalone system ready to be launched for commercial service
  • Will be introduced in first half of 2020
  • Already launched 5G NSA in South Korea in April

South Korea continues to set the pace for 5G network development and deployment. Whilst most attention is currently focused on the so-called non-standalone (NSA) mode of 5G, utilising the LTE core, the full capabilities of 5G won’t be realised until we see standalone 5G phased into commercial use with the new 5G Core.

No surprise to learn that SK Telecom and Samsung Electronics have just announced the successful completion of Korea’s first interoperability assessment between 5G Standalone core and other commercial network systems over a 5G network, as they edge closer to full 5G SA commercialisation. The CSP and its vendor partner have already launched 5G NSA commercial service back in April.

The 5G SA Core solution that is being jointly developed by SK Telecom and Samsung Electronics supports technologies including network slicing and function modularisation based on 3GPP standards. It also offers additional functions that operators have been using since LTE, including billing, subscriber management and operational convenience system. SK Telecom says the interoperability assessment is the final stage for verifying the validity of 5G SA data transmission, proving that the SA system is ready to be launched for commercial service.

“Along with the initial phase of NSA rollout, SK Telecom has been continuously focusing on researching and developing the SA technology in order to provide customers a differentiated service quality with innovative products, which will be launched in the first half of next year,” said Park Jin-hyo, CTO and Head of ICT R&D Center at SK Telecom. “By strengthening bilateral collaboration with Samsung, SK Telecom will drive and lead highly innovative 5G technologies and solutions.”

New techniques used in the solution include Data Parallel Processing technology that performs QoS and transmission control simultaneously, data acceleration technology that classifies and distributes similar traffic types, and Path Optimisation technology that automatically delivers data traffic to an MEC edge computing platform.

“The fundamental structure of 5G SA is built on a completely new configuration, successfully delivering the most optimised 5G service to customers and enterprises across numerous industries,” added Jaeho Jeon, EVP and Head of R&D, Networks Business at Samsung Electronics. “Maintaining Korea’s leadership in network innovations through continuous investments in next-generation technologies is important to Samsung and SK Telecom, and the companies will continue to collaborate on developing and commercialising 5G SA.”

Once 5G SA commences commercial service, SK Telecom believes that data processing efficiency will be improved threefold, allowing better control for supporting the expected massive increase in data traffic. It also opens up opportunities for tailored vertical market solutions, with the CSP targeting autonomous driving, smart factories, smart farms and AR/VR services.

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