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SKT claims success in tests of new telecoms technology

BUNDANG, Gyeonggi Province ― SK Telecom, the country’s top mobile carrier, tested the fourth generation telecommunications technology Long Term Evolution for the first time at its Bundang office on Tuesday.

Aiming to commercialize the LTE technology in Seoul by July, the company will offer next generation telecommunications services which come with upgraded speed and picture quality.

It will then make the service available in 23 different municipalities by 2012 and expand the number to 82 by 2013, further making moves to adopt the LTE-Advanced technology beginning in 2013.

“The new service will get rid of constraints like time and space and meet demands for improved visuals,” said Ihm Jong-tae, senior vice president of the Institute of Network Technology at SKT.

“The technology will also enable downloading big files and view high-quality and high-definition multimedia content services, such as the 3-D streaming service.”
SK Telecom officials applaud the successful testing of the company’s fourth-generation Long Term Evolution telecommunications technology at its Bundang office in Gyeonggi Province on Tuesday.(Chung Hee-cho/The Korea Herald)
SK Telecom officials applaud the successful testing of the company’s fourth-generation Long Term Evolution telecommunications technology at its Bundang office in Gyeonggi Province on Tuesday.(Chung Hee-cho/The Korea Herald)

In a related event, it connected video calls on its monitor on a moving bus ahead of the main event in Bundang, explaining that the picture and voice qualities were enhanced eight and two times, respectively, using its current third generation wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA) technology.

According to Bae Joon-dong, president of Network CIC at SKT, the LTE technology has three times more capacity than the current 3G communications technology although the two use the same wireless frequency band, which is 800 megahertz.

“Features like video calls and online games as well as N-Screen service which connects multiple gadgets will be used with the introduction of the technology,” he said.

It only takes 85 seconds to download a single 800-megabyte movie and numerous people can simultaneously access the same online game even on a mobile phone, said SKT officials.

The telecom giant said it plans to launch up to three to four smartphones and up to two tablet PCS, all running on LTE networks, by the end of this year. Local and foreign mobile manufacturers will take part in the process, its officials said.

Regarding the payment plan of gadgets which will use the next-generation technology, the firm said it is reviewing a new set of plans, including the unlimited data usage scheme.

“We’re currently reviewing all possibilities,” said Bae.

Although some critics posted concerns that the unlimited data usage plan could cause an overload in networks, SKT does not feel the need to shut down the unlimited data usage plan at the moment, he said.

“We’re setting up 45,000 more wireless Internet hot spots this year and a total of 62,000 Wi-Fi zones will be created by the yearend, so those who used up all data of their monthly plan could use the wireless Internet networks as substitutes,” he said. “It’s our duty as a telecom service provider to keep the (unlimited data plan) promise we made with our customers.”

By Cho Ji-hyun (sharon@heraldcorp.com)
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