SK Telecom trials 3.5-GHz 5G with Samsung and Nokia

SK Telecom 3.5-GHz 5G
Image credit: SK Telecom

SK Telecom says that it has successfully demonstrated 5G communications using the 3.5-GHz band for the first time in Korea via collaborations with Samsung Electronics and Nokia.

SK Telecom teamed with Samsung to develop a 3.5-GHz 5G end-to-end network at Samsung’s R&D Center located in Suwon. The network comprised a 5G virtualized core, virtualized RAN, distributed unit (baseband unit and radio unit) and a test device.

All components were based on the 3GPP 5G New Radio standards elements established to date, which means a subcarrier spacing of 60 kHz, transmit time interval (TTI) length of 0.25ms to reduce latency, sub_frame structure that simultaneously supports downlink data and uplink feedback, and low-density parity-check (LDPC) channel coding for high-speed data communications.

Meanwhile, SK Telecom also worked with Nokia to co-develop 5G base station equipment and a test device for 3.5GHz. SKT said it successfully realized Gbps-level throughput during a field trial held near its Bundang Office Building via carrier aggregation techniques to expand bandwidth. The two companies also measured link quality (BLER) depending on the distance between a moving vehicle and base station.

SK Telecom said it will continue to work with Samsung and Nokia on 3.5-GHz 5G to further enhance transmission speeds, expand coverage and improve communication stability while on the move.

Park Jin-hyo, senior vice president and head of Network R&D Center at SK Telecom, said that with successful trials of 3.5GHz 5G under its belt, the cellco has secured all essential technologies to deploy 5G networks using frequency bands above and below 6 GHz.

For example, 28 GHz can support several tens of Gbps through the use of a wide bandwidth of more than several hundreds of MHz, while 3.5 GHz can provide a stable coverage in wider areas.

SK Telecom says it plans to roll out its 5G networks by leveraging the respective strength of these frequencies, with 28 GHz serving downtown areas with dense data traffic, while it will cover wide areas with either 3.5 GHz on its own or a combination of 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz.

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