CommsUpdate: South Korea’s SK Telecom (SKT) claims to have successfully conducted the world’s first standalone (SA) 5G data session on its multi-vendor commercial fifth-generation network. In a press release announcing the development, the mobile network operator (MNO) said that as a result of what it called the ‘major breakthrough in 5G’, it was now fully set to provide SA services on the network. In line with this, the MNO now plans to launch a 5G SA service in the first half of this year.
SKT’s standalone 5G data call took place on 16 January 2020 in Busan, the second largest city in Korea, using the operator’s commercial 5G network deployed in that region. To achieve the milestone, the cellco applied SA New Radio (NR) software to its existing non-standalone (NSA) 5G base stations, while completing multi-vendor interoperability between network equipment provided by Ericsson and Samsung. SKT noted that it has also applied key 5G technologies such as network slicing and mobile edge computing (MEC) in an SA environment.
Commenting on the development, Park Jong-kwan, SKT’s Vice President and Head of 5GX Labs, was cited as saying: ‘With the successful standalone 5G data call on our multi-vendor commercial 5G network, we are now standing on the threshold of launching standalone 5G service, a key enabler of revolutionary changes and innovations in all industries … SK Telecom will offer the best 5G networks and services to realize a whole new level of customer experience in the 5G era.’