SK Telecom (SKT), South Korea’s largest mobile network operator by subscribers, has announced the launch of a trial of multi-carrier Long Term Evolution (LTE) services. According to the Korea IT Times, the operator has said that its new technology enables LTE services to be offered in both the 800MHz and 1800MHz bands, with trials to initially be conducted in the area from the Gangnam Station in Seoul to the Kyobo Tower Crossroad. SKT has said that one of the major benefits of the technology is that, by allowing the use of additional spectrum bands it ensures effective and efficient use of frequencies. It is understood that by using the new technology the multi-carrier system optimally distributes mobile data traffic to each frequency band, helping to ensure that the network remains as congestion-free as possible.
A commercial launch of multi-carrier LTE is expected from July 2012, with SKT saying that it aims to have introduced the technology across the whole of Seoul by the end of the year. Looking further ahead, the cellco hopes to have expanded its availability further, to around 23 other major cities by early 2013. In terms of compatible devices, SKT has noted that the Pantech Vega Racer 2 smartphone, which was launched in South Korea earlier this month, has the multi-carrier feature embedded within it. Once the technology has been commercialised it is understood that customers with that handset will be able to utilise the service via an automatic firmware upgrade.
Commenting on the development, Kwon Hyuk-Sang, SKT’s executive vice-president and head of network division, noted: ‘SK Telecom will provide the fastest and the most reliable LTE service through the world’s first adoption of the innovative multi-carrier technology that allows for the use of twice wider frequency bandwidth than its competitors in Korea. Building on this milestone, SK Telecom will maintain its efforts to keep setting new standards for excellence in LTE services.’