SK Telecom’s latest 5G demos: indoor coverage and VR video calls

Pyeongchang 5G
Image credit: Scharfsinn /

SK Telecom announced successful 5G-related demonstrations in two areas – in-building coverage and a VR video call – that it says will help accelerate its 5G R&D effort.

In the first demo, SK Telecom used in-building 5G relay repeaters operating in both 28-GHz and 3.5-GHz spectrum bands on the 5G trial network at the company’s Bundang office.

The 28-GHz repeater, which SK Telecom jointly developed with HFR, helps deliver seamless network connections in an indoor environment by transferring wireless signals to radio shadow areas. In the 28 GHz band, radio waves are more likely to move in straight lines, being blocked more sharply by obstacles with shorter radio coverage. Radio signals particularly suffers more loss inside a building, where areas are divided by walls.

The 28 GHz relay repeater was able to deliver speeds of up to 4 Gbps indoors.

SK Telecom also worked with SK Telesys to develop a 3.5-GHz relay repeater, which can deliver 5G radio signals using the existing mobile comms infrastructure installed inside buildings. That means the cellco can save time in deploying indoor 5G coverage by simply installing the 3.5-GHz relay repeater.

Meanwhile, SK Telecom said it also collaborated with Samsung Electronics to demonstrate a 360-degree VR video call using a tablet device on the 5G network connecting between at SK Telecom’s headquarter in Seoul, and an area near the central business district. The VR video call stayed connected even while the user moved through the area surrounded by high-rise buildings.

Park Jin-hyo, senior vice president and head of SK Telecom’s Network Technology R&D Center, said the success of the demos in a real-world environment “will give us momentum to accelerate our effort to roll out 5G service earlier than expected.”

However, he declined to say just how much earlier. SK Telecom has previously stated it intends to launch its first 5G services at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, which kicks off on February 9 – a little over three months from now.

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