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SK Telecom, Samsung announce successful 5G first call

South Korea’s biggest network operator SK Telecom announced Monday the company had succeeded in the first call in a test bed using commercial fifth-generation equipment by Samsung Electronics.

To reach the goal of commercializing the world’s first 5G services through mobile routers as early as in December, the two Korean mobile operator and equipment manufacturer are speeding up technological preparations for the launch.

The first call refers to the final procedure of testing smooth data transfer in a test bed created with technological conditions equivalent to a real 5G environment. 

SKT and Samsung officials test a 5G service at SKT's office in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province, on Monday. (SK Telecom)
SKT and Samsung officials test a 5G service at SKT's office in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province, on Monday. (SK Telecom)

A successful call is determined mainly by connections among the base station, exchanger and mobile devices, synchronization among equipment parts for communication, certification of normal access to the 5G network by subscribers and all other conditions that are necessary for connecting the current Long Term Evolution network with the upcoming 5G network.

SKT and Samsung carried out the test by using the 100-megahertz bandwidth in the 3.5-gigahertz frequency spectrum, which fully complies with international 5G standards by 3GPP.

Many other telecom firms have announced first calls by using their own standards and testing equipment, but the SKT-Samsung call is significant in that they used the commercial equipment in a test bed most identical to the real environment, an SKT official explained.

SKT CTO Park Jin-hyo said, “The Korean mobile carrier’s preparations for 5G commercialization are several months ahead of global competitors.”

“SKT will spend the next few months on maximizing the quality of upcoming services.”

According to Samsung, the 5G service launch via mobile dongles in December will mark a global first, while it is preparing to make 5G services available for smartphones in March 2019 as planned.

“Samsung is gearing up for impeccable 5G services through preparations,” said Cheun Kyung-whoon, executive vice president at Samsung.

By Song Su-hyun (
Korea Herald Youtube