SK Telecom (SKT), South Korea’s largest cellco by subscribers, has carried out what it claims is the world’s first commercialisation of Uplink CoMP (Uplink Cooperative Multi-Point), a technology which can reportedly enhance LTE upload speeds significantly. Having carried out the development of the technology in partnership with Finnish vendor Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN), SKT notes that, in an area covered by multiple base stations, Uplink CoMP ensures that signals from mobile devices are received by more than one cell tower, before combining these to increase signal strength. According to the operator, once the technology had been applied in the test areas it saw mobile data upload speeds increase by an average of 20% within coverage boundaries. SKT says it now aims to introduce Uplink CoMP to all of its LTE-enabled base stations by the end of this year.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, SKT has already outlined other plans to enhance its 4G infrastructure, having revealed in February 2014 that it will construct additional 1800MHz base stations with a view to securing nationwide LTE and LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) coverage. With the new infrastructure to be constructed by end-2014, the cellco has claimed that such developments will enable customers to access downlink speeds of up to 150Mbps on a nationwide basis. In addition, SKT has gained regulatory approval to use 10MHz in the 2100MHz band for LTE-based services. Having acquired spectrum in the 2100MHz band in a 2010 auction, by launching commercial services using such frequencies the cellco has said it will move one step closer to realising LTE-A tri-band carrier aggregation technology that could support download speeds of up to 300Mbps. Construction of 2100MHz LTE base stations will reportedly get underway in the second quarter of 2014, with SKT saying it aims to make the network available for commercialisation ‘as soon as the supporting handsets come to market’.