Samsung, SK Telecom move to make Korea home of 5G innovation

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Samsung is teaming up with SK Telecom to conduct 5G research into technologies such as small cells, massive MIMO and next generation modulation/demodulation.

Both companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together on picking the right frequency bands for 5G technology, as well as testing a range of enabling technology.

The vendor and operator said they would also work with standardisation groups and technology forums around the world on developing 5G.

While the technology remains largely undefined, with a lack of agreed requirements or technical specs, 5G is seen to be what will provide data networks offering one thousand times more capacity than LTE, with speeds of more than 1GBps.

SK Telecom said that it is planning to develop key performance indicators in order to make the shift to 5G easier. It added that it was considering the development of a range of services that would rely on gigabit-level data rates. These include augmented or virtual reality, telepresence and holograms.

The operator said it was also planning to research "Advanced IoT" technology, which it said would enable "hyper-connected" services regardless of where the connected objects or humans were.

Last week, Samsung announced it had hit speeds of 7.5GBps in a stationary environment in a 5G test. The vendor also clocked speeds of 1.2GBps in a car travelling around a racetrack at more than 100 kilometres per hour.

The move is the latest to try and make Korea the centre of 5G innovation. In August, Huawei and LG Uplus set up an innovation centre in Seoul to work on LTE-A and 5G technology.

In June, the European Commission signed a deal with the Korean government to cooperate on 5G research and work together in defining exactly what the technology is.

Kyungwhoon Cheun, Senior Vice President and Head of Communications Research Team of DMC R&D Center at Samsung Electronics, said: “The 5G communications system needs an ecosystem where operators and manufacturers cooperate in areas of related standards, devices, network equipment, new services and etc. Through this opportunity of cooperation between the two companies, therefore, I believe Korea will continue to lead mobile communications network in 5G as it does in 4G.”

Alex Jinsung Choi, Executive Vice President and Head of SK Telecom's ICT R&D Division, said: “We expect the two companies, mobile carrier and mobile network manufacturer, will share vision for 5G through the joint research, thereby generate synergy effect in the development of the next generation telecommunications technology. SK Telecom will strive to provide differentiated high-quality service to our customers by leading technology development of 5G network.” 

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