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KT installs nationwide LTE network, boasts quality

BUSAN ― KT Corp., the nation’s No. 2 telecom carrier, said Monday that it has completed nationwide coverage of the faster Long Term Evolution network service in 84 cities.

Despite the later announcement than those of its rivals SK Telecom and LG Uplus, the company showed no doubt about its quality based on its own “Warp” technology.

“There should be a first-mover advantage in the market. But when it comes to technology, a latecomer will have the upper hand,” said Pyo Hyun-myung, president of the mobile business unit at KT.
KT’s mobile chief Pyo Hyun-myung speaks at a press conference held on board a passenger ship in Busan on Monday. (KT Corp.)
KT’s mobile chief Pyo Hyun-myung speaks at a press conference held on board a passenger ship in Busan on Monday. (KT Corp.)

“We have developed our own technology to offer better service to LTE users, many of them being data-guzzlers. We will regain our market presence soon.”

KT’s “Warp” technology, named after the faster-than-light “warp drive” from the sci-fi franchise Star Trek, has a special head server that controls data traffic among 144 radio coverage areas, also called cells.

In Korea, one of the world’s most wired countries, telecom companies are competing to build more wireless base stations, sometimes causing overlap among network services.

Such interference becomes more severe in open places like mountains, offshore areas and rooftops where no buildings or walls block the signals from each other.

That’s also why the company held a press conference on board a passenger ship near Busan on Monday.

According to KT’s presentation conducted along the coastal line of the port city, there were some 100 signals detected from base stations of each telecom carrier.

KT’s LTE network service showed more seamless and faster streaming of line content via just two signals, while the networks of its rivals were crowded with some 80 signals affecting the data use on mobile devices.

“Now when the number of LTE users is not so high, their data use has yet to affect the network service in downtown areas,” Pyo said.

“But a possible surge in data use can cause data traffic. In preparation, we have developed the ‘Warp’ technology.”

The mobile chief of KT also reaffirmed the company’s entry into overseas markets with its advanced LTE technology first in partnership with Samsung Electronics.

The company added that it will offer the LTE service in every corner of the country covering smaller counties within the first half of the year ― which also lags behind rivals ― while aiming to secure some 4 million LTE subscribers in the latter half.

Currently, KT has secured some 500,000 LTE users, while SK Telecom and LG Uplus have 2.25 million and 1.5 million subscribers, respectively.

Regarding the long-awaited voice calls on the LTE network, Pyo hinted that the company could start the service as early as October when handset makers are expected to roll out phones exclusively for VoLTE.

KT started the LTE service in January. Compared to its 3G service, LTE users use 170 percent more voice call services and 112 percent more data.

Even though the LTE service is in its early stages, data use per person reached nearly 90 percent of those using unlimited 3G data service.

The data traffic could surpass the 3G service by the end of 2013 and increase five-fold by the end of 2016, the company expected.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)
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