The Korea Herald


LG Uplus on 4G fast track

By 김지현

Published : July 5, 2011 - 19:03

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Mobile carrier aims for 10 million subscribers to take first place by 2014

LG Uplus is out to grab the No. 1 slot in the nation’s telecommunications market with its launch of fourth-generation network services early this month.

“This is the new beginning. It will mark the beginning of a new world that will be completely different from yesterday’s world,” Lee Sang-chul, vice chairman and CEO of LG Uplus said on June 30 to mark the launch of its Long Term Evolution services.

As of July 1, LG Uplus began offering commercial LTE services in three metropolitan cities including Seoul.

As of September, LG Uplus plans to widen the scope of coverage to offer services to most metropolitan cities in the nation.

Lee also predicted that LG Uplus, the nation’s smallest mobile carrier, will be able to take the market lead with the groundbreaking new service.

“So far, we have always been half a track behind our competitors, but with LTE, we are all starting at the same starting line, so there is no reason why we cannot achieve first place,” the CEO said. 
LG Uplus vice chairman and CEO Lee Sang-chul (center) with colleagues to celebrate the launch of LTE services. (Yonhap News) LG Uplus vice chairman and CEO Lee Sang-chul (center) with colleagues to celebrate the launch of LTE services. (Yonhap News)

By the end of this year, LG Uplus said it plans to secure up to 3 million users, while by 2014 it would seek the market lead with 10 million subscribers.

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 third generation networks. Mobile carriers have been devoted to ushering in the new technology as soon as possible in order offer faster, higher-quality wireless communication to Korean consumers who have been itching for higher speed.

SK Telecom and LG Uplus both launched commercial services on the same day this month, but LG Uplus will be offering much wider coverage.

The company now plans to offer LTE services in 82 cities around the country before the end of this year and plans to complete the nationwide LTE network next July.

The plans were pushed up from the original blueprint of servicing nationwide starting from 2013.

LG Uplus will invest some 1.25 trillion won ($1.1 billion) in LTE services over the next two years, Lee said.

The extent of the devotion the firm is showing toward its new technology was apparent in the CEO letter that Lee sent to his employees several days following the launch, thanking the LG Uplus workers for their hard work and commitment involving the new service.

Impact of LTE

Starting in October when handset makers such as Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics plan to unveil new smartphones that enable LTE, many lives here are expected to change with the access to faster data transmission.

The most significant feature of LTE is that it can transmit bulky content at a high speed, with no glitches or pauses.

For instance, it will take only 85 seconds to download an 800-megabyte movie and people will be able to simultaneously access the same online game even on a mobile phone.

This means that high-definition images will become more accessible. Face time, for example, will be enhanced so that phone users can see clearer images.

So far, users have complained of glitches when watching high-definition images when outside of WiFi areas.

Smart working and living will also become possible in reality, as cloud computing will also receive a boost.

LG Uplus predicted that the education industry would also undergo much change with LTE as video lectures will be accessible at high-speed and high-definition.

“We will be opening a chapter of unbridled wireless network era and rewrite telecommunication history,” Lee said.

LG Uplus’ LTE is also distinguished from its rival SK Telecom as its data transmission speed is said to be twice as fast, prompting Lee to call the service “Ultimate Speed.”

Until the new smartphones and tablets are unveiled, users will be able to access LTE technology by using routers and modems.

LG Uplus has unveiled two types of pay plans for LTE modems and routers; 5 gigabytes for 30,000 won per month, and 10 gigabytes for 50,000 won.

By Kim Ji-hyun (