SK Telecom Co. and LG Uplus Corp. plans to start commercial services of the “Long Term Evolution” mobile technology to usher in the long-awaited era of fourth-generation wireless networks, the companies said on Thursday.
LTE is cited as the next-generation mobile technology following the current 3G, and promises to offer an Internet data transmitting speed of up to five to seven times existing networks.
On Friday, the mobile carriers will be launching LTE services.
SK Telecom will launch the commercial services in Seoul starting Friday, while LG Uplus will be offering them in three cities including Seoul on the same day.
Seo Jin-woo (second from left), president of SK Telecom’s platform business, poses with celebrities and the first subscriber to the company’s fourth-generation LTE services at a launch ceremony on Thursday. (Yonhap News)
As of September, LG Uplus plans to offer services to most metropolitan cities in the nation, while SK Telecom is to widen its scope to a total of 23 cities by early next year.
“LTE heralds the opening of a new era of faster networks, but it also is connected to 3G services, so it’s basically 3G plus alpha,” said Lee Sang-chul, vice chairman and CEO of LG Uplus at a press conference on Thursday.
LG Uplus CEO Lee Sang-chul (left) poses at a launch ceremony on Thursday for the company’s fourth-generation LTE services. (Yonhap News)
The fourth-generation of wireless technology is expected to provide Korean smartphone users a quicker way to download or stream movies, open Web pages and send pictures.
As of last year, about 14 million South Koreans were using smartphones or tablet PCs, making up about a third of the nation’s wireless market.
LG Uplus, the nation’s third-largest mobile carrier, expects LTE service subscribers to surpass 3 million by the end of next year, and more than 10 million by 2014.
SK Telecom, the mobile industry leader, hopes to sign up at least 300,000 LTE phone subscribers before the end of this year and 10 million by 2015, it said.
Fourth-generation networks have caused the latest buzz as mobile carriers have been busy gearing up to launch services for faster data transmission.
KT Corp., the country’s biggest fixed-line service operator and rival to SK and LG Uplus, recently said it would begin servicing Seoul with its 4G LTE networks in November, expanding its network nationwide by 2013.
By Kim Ji-hyun (email@example.com