Displaying items by tag: SK Telecom

SK Telecom accelerates R&D to rollout 5G sooner than expected

Written on Sunday, 12 November 2017 12:14

South Korea’s SK Telecom announced the successful demonstration of essential technologies for 5G network communications in a real-world setting, accelerating its research and development efforts to roll out 5G services earlier than expected.

SK Telecom announced that it used an in-building 5G relay repeater operating in both 28 GHz and 3.5 GHz spectrums in the 5G trial network at the company’s Bundang office, a result of the company’s joint development with local vendors.

The in-building 5G relay repeater helps deliver seamless network connections in an indoor environment by transferring wireless signals to radio shadow areas.

The company was able to deliver speeds of up to 4Gbps using the in-building relay repeater SK Telecom jointly developed with HFR which operated in 28 GHz band. 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. Frequency particularly suffers more loss inside a building, where areas are divided by walls.

Ensuring the quality of indoor service is the key to 5G service rollout, which uses ultra-high frequencies. With the success of delivering gigabit speeds using the in-building relay repeater, SK Telecom is in the process of accelerating development of 5G service that customers can enjoy even in an indoor environment.

The company has also worked with SK Telesys to develop an in-building relay repeater, which can deliver 5G radio signals in 3.5 GHz using the existing mobile communications infrastructure installed inside buildings.

Since the station uses the existing antennas for 2G, 3G and LTE services, the company can reduce time to build indoor networks for 5G service by only installing the 3.5 GHz band relay repeater.

With the success of the demonstration, SK Telecom was able to develop its capabilities for 5G relay for both indoor and outdoor settings. In August, the company deployed a relay repeater in its 5G trial network near Gangnam Station in Seoul to successfully expand radio coverage in the densely populated urban area.

On the same day, SK Telecom demonstrated a 360-degree virtual reality (VR) video call using a tablet-sized device on the 5G network connecting between T.um at SK Telecom’s headquarter in Seoul, and an area near Cheonggyecheon, a stream flowing through the central district of Seoul, in collaboration with Samsung Electronics. A user was able to enjoy a 360-degree VR video call real-time even while moving in the area surrounded by high-rise buildings.

The demonstration was performed in the central business district, a perfect place to test 5G communications service as it is surrounded by high-rise buildings generating dense data blocked by many obstacles. Both companies employed the advanced technologies, including beamforming, optimal base-station positioning and network virtualization, to build a stable 5G trial network.

With the success of the demonstration on a tablet-sized 5G device, SK Telecom accelerated its research in the field of network connections to ensure the seamless operation of devices on the 5G network. The telecom giant also expects that the demonstration will add momentum to its effort to create novel services running on the 5G network that will deliver new experiences to its customers.

“The success of 5G wireless communications in the real-world environment will give us momentum to accelerate our effort to roll out 5G services earlier than expected,” said Park Jin-hyo, Senior Vice President and Head of Network Technology R&D Center at SK Telecom. “We, at SK Telecom, will continue to develop our capabilities to rollout 5G networks in order to offer differentiated services to our customers.”

Published in Telecom Operators

SK Telecom develops Wi-Fi technology that delivers 5G speeds

Written on Tuesday, 24 October 2017 08:33

SK Telecom announced the introduction of a new Wi-Fi technology that can deliver speed as fast as 5G technology. For the first time in South Korea, the technology successfully demonstrated speeds of up to 4.8Gbps at SK Telecom’s Bundang Center.

The technology was built on the IEEE 802.11ax standard, delivering speeds of up to 4.8Gbps, which is nearly four times faster than the existing gigabit Wi-Fi service — 1.3Gbps, 802.11ac — currently prevailing among smartphones. The technology uses four antennas to transmit data and uses 160 MHz bandwidth, twice wider than the gigabit Wi-Fi service, and operates in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrums.

Once the technology is commercially implemented, SK Telecom believes it will play a tremendous role in delivering sufficient wireless access in any dense traffic scenarios. It features the OFDMA, Multi-user MIMO as well as the Dynamic Sensitivity Control (DSC) technology that are designed to improve the efficiency of the network.

Given the 802.11ax chipsets already released in the market by global makers, the next generation Wi-Fi service is expected to be commercially available for smartphones next year. Smartphones equipped with the chipset theoretically deliver a speed of up to 1.2Gbps in 80 MHz with two antennas.

SK Telecom is planning to deploy access points for the next generation Wi-Fi next year particularly in high traffic density areas. Users with the new chipset-based smartphones will benefit from the new technology.

At present, a testbed has been constructed within the T Open Lab, the company’s R&D Center at Bundang to test the performance of the new technology in various deployment scenarios including high traffic density. It is also working on upgrading the access points to the commercially deployable level by the end of this year.

Since 2014, SK Telecom has taken part in the nation’s IEEE 802.11ax standard research group, led by the Ministry of Science and ICT, along with small and mid-sized companies. Its participation has resulted in many new technologies applied to the global standards with relevant patents obtained.

“By introducing the technology for the next generation Wi-Fi that can deliver as fast as 5G technology, we at SK Telecom have successfully laid foundation to offer better mobile services,” said Park Jin-hyo, Senior Vice President and Head of Network Technology R&D Center at SK Telecom.

Park added, “We are thrilled to work on the preparation of commercializing the technology and continue to innovate our capabilities to provide differentiated services to our customers.”

Published in Telecom Operators

India’s largest telecom services provider, Bharti Airtel, announced a strategic partnership with South Korean telecom provider SK Telecom, under which the Indian comapny will leverage SK Telekom’s expertise to build the “most advanced telecom network in India”.

“SK Telecom is delighted to announce a strategic partnership with Bharti Airtel, a global leading mobile operator,” said Park Jung-ho, the President and CEO of SK Telecom. “SK Telecom will work closely with Bharti to achieve new network innovations so as to deliver a greater value to Bharti’s customers.”

The partnership will work across several areas, according to the two companies, including developing bespoke software to dramatically improve network experience, leveraging advanced digital tools including machine learning, big data, and building customized tools to improve network planning based on every customer’s device experience.

The capacity to identify, monitor and deliver improvements to the network experience on an individual device basis will be a first in India, helped by SK Telecom’s global leadership in this area.

The two companies will also collaborate on an on-going basis to evolve standards for 5G, network functions virtualization (NFV), software-defined networking (SDN) and Internet of Things (IoT), and jointly work towards building an enabling ecosystem for the introduction of these technologies in the Indian context.

“We are extremely delighted to announce this partnership with the world’s leading operator when it comes to technology understanding and expertise. This partnership will bring a dramatically improved experience to Airtel customers in India by leveraging the expertise of a company that has built one of the best mobile broadband networks in the world,” Said Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman of Bharti Airtel.

“Strong partnerships have been a hallmark of Airtel’s growth journey and we are proud to have always looked ahead to bring the latest technology to India,” he added. “With SK Telecom’s clear and undisputed leadership in technology, this is one partnership that will decisively change the game in India and put the country at par with the most advanced broadband nations in the world.”

Published in Telecom Operators

SK Telecom launches in-car AI virtual assistant

Written on Tuesday, 19 September 2017 05:35

SK Telecom announced that its mobile navigation app ‘T Map’ is now powered by its artificial intelligence (AI) platform NUGU, named ‘T Map X NUGU’. The AI-based navigation service allows drivers to use their voice to enjoy the existing navigation features as well as other useful features offered by NUGU.

T Map was launched by SK Telecom in 2002, and is the leading mobile navigation service in South Korea. In July 2016, the company opened T Map to subscribers of all mobile carriers free of charge. As of August 2017, T Map has around 10.14 million monthly active users, taking up about 68 percent of the South Korean mobile navigation market.

T Map X NUGU significantly enhances the safety for drivers, according to SK Telecom, by allowing them to easily set and change destinations without ever having to take their eyes off the road or hands off the wheel. Moreover, users can ask the voice assistant to find the closest or cheapest gas station and begin providing route guidance to the selected destination. It will also show and guide the driver to the nearest parking lot.

While driving, users can request real-time traffic information, including accidents on roads, and adjust the voice guidance volume through voice commands. Upon arriving at their destination, users can also tell it to end the service/close the app. Users can choose one of two wake words: Aria or Tinker Bell.

T Map integrated with NUGU enhances drivers’ in-car experience by offering useful infotainment services such as news briefing, weather report, sports scores and daily horoscope, SK Telecom claims. Users can also listen to music (Melon) and manage their personal schedules (Google Calendar) by installing the NUGU app.

SK Telecom plans to add more features to T Map X NUGU by November 2017. For instance, when there is an incoming call, drivers will be able to use voice commands to either receive the phone call, or send a text message that states the estimated time of arrival or simply says “I am driving now.”

T Map X NUGU has achieved a 96 percent success rate in voice recognition despite diverse sources of noise, including car engine sounds, wind and people’s conversations. Moreover, with the integration of NUGU into T Map, SK Telecom expects to dramatically improve the performance of the voice-based AI engine via machine learning, which will lead to the creation of new and innovative services.

“Integrated with NUGU, T Map now holds the power to significantly improve driving safety by minimizing driver distractions, while also enhancing customers’ driving pleasure and in-car experience,” said Lee Sang-ho, Executive Vice President and Head of AI Business Division. “With the aim to provide a differentiated level of experience to users, we will continue to expand the use of our AI platform NUGU to more areas of our customers’ lives.”

Published in Telecom Operators

SK Telecom and Nokia achieve significantly reduced latency

Written on Sunday, 10 September 2017 12:38

South Korean telecom provider SK Telecom and Nokia have successfully reduced latency between handset and base station to 2 milliseconds over SK Telecom’s network, the company announced on September 4.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) states that technologies designed for 5G need to deliver a peak rate of up to 20Gbps under ultra-low latency of 1 millisecond. Therefore, with the successful demonstration, SK Telecom moves closer to realizing 5G.

The latency between the handset and base station in the existing LTE environment is around 25 milliseconds, according to SK Telecom. While the round-trip latency of 25 milliseconds can support two-way communication services like remote learning, it is not low enough to seamlessly provide services that require real-time transmission of data such as autonomous driving and telemedicine.

Against this backdrop, the newly developed 2 millisecond latency technology is expected to facilitate the development of diverse real-time services – e.g. autonomous driving, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) services – which will become widespread in the 5G era.

For instance, with a latency of 25 milliseconds, upon sending a stop signal to a self-driving vehicle running at 150 kilometers per hour, the vehicle travels about one meter further before it actually begins to decelerate. However, with the 2 millisecond latency technology, the vehicle moves only 8 centimeters before it begins to slow down, which will significantly enhance the overall safety in autonomous driving.

Moreover, the low latency communication technology can support services that require real-time monitoring of remote sites and control of equipment such as disaster relief robot, and will also contribute to the growth of next-generation media services like 360° VR.

SK Telecom and Nokia dramatically reduced the latency between LTE handset and base station by applying Uplink Pre-Scheduling, a technology that enables the handset to immediately transmit data to the base station, and short Transmission Time Interval (TTI), a technology that reduces data transmission time between base station and handset to about 1/7. The companies will continue to work together to reflect the short TTI technology to the 3GPP global standards.

“Low latency technology is essential in realizing 5G services such as autonomous driving, artificial intelligence and virtual reality services,” said Park Jin-hyo, Senior Vice President and Head of Network Technology R&D Center of SK Telecom. “We will continue to improve our low latency technologies to achieve 5G evolution, while applying the latest technologies to our LTE networks to further enhance customer experience.”

Published in Telecom Operators

SK Telecom successfully develops 5G signal booster

Written on Monday, 21 August 2017 06:20

SK Telecom, South Korea’s largest telecommunications provider, announced that it has successfully developed a 5G repeater, a means of boosting 5G signals, and applied it to its 5G trial network deployed near Gangnam Station in Seoul.

The 5G repeater is designed to improve signals in blanket/shadow areas by amplifying 5G radio signals. With the deployment of the 5G repeater, 5G networks will be able to provide a dense coverage by eliminating shadow areas.

The 5G repeater – built with SK Telecom’s independently developed 5G relay technology – is expected to resolve the issue of 5G coverage limitations caused by the propagation characteristics of radio signals at super-high/above-6GHz frequency bands.

Moreover, the Gangnam area in Seoul is one of the most difficult places to plan/build a network due to the presence of a large number of radio wave obstacles and high-density data traffic. SK Telecom’s successful deployment of the 5G repeater carries a significant meaning as it will now be able to build 5G networks in other traffic-concentrated downtown areas with greater ease. 

“SK Telecom is moving closer to launching a commercial 5G network by applying key 5G technologies to our 5G trial network in Gangnam, an area with the highest data traffic,” said Park Jin-hyo, Senior Vice President and Head of Network Technology R&D Center of SK Telecom.  

Published in Telecom Operators

South Korea’s SK Telecom reported revenue of KRW 4.346 trillion for Q2 2017 and operating income of KRW 423.3 billion and net income of KRW 620.5 billion. Compared to the same period last year, the revenue and operating income for the second quarter increased by 1.8% and 3.9%, respectively, owing to the improved performance of its subsidiaries including SK Broadband and SK Planet.

SK Telecom’s net income grew 113.2% year-on-year (YoY) due to factors including increased equity method gain from SK Hynix, the operator’s semiconductor business. Meanwhile, the operating income on a non-consolidated basis dropped 3.3% YoY to KRW 462.3 billion affected by increased marketing expenses and expanded depreciation costs from the 2.6 GHz frequency band it acquired last year.

Despite revenue-decreasing factors, including the increased number of subscribers who choose contract-based mobile fee discounts, the non-consolidated revenue edged up slightly compared to the same period last year to KRW 3.110 trillion backed by the growth of mobile data usage per user and increased sales from new business areas including IoT solutions.

 SK Telecom’s consolidated subsidiaries have posted improved results in the second quarter of 2017. SK Broadband’s revenue increased by 1.9% YoY to KRW 730.1 billion as the number of its UHD set-top box subscribers surpassed 1.5 million and more customers purchased paid content. SK Broadband also reported a record-high quarterly operating income of KRW 31.6 billion in the second quarter of 2017.

Moreover, for the second quarter, SK Planet posted sales of KRW 274.0 billion, up 5.4% from the same period last year backed by the growth of its e-commerce platform, 11st. In addition, through efficient management of marketing expenses, including the provision of customized coupons, SK Planet has reduced its operating loss by KRW 35.1 billion compared to the same period last year. SK Hynix contributed to the growth of the consolidated net income by posting best-ever financial results.

Based on its unmatched position as the nation’s top mobile telecommunications company, SK Telecom is “determined to evolve into a global leading ICT company by promoting media and IoT business areas,” it said.

To this end, the company plans to connect its artificial intelligence (AI) platform to other services, including mobile telecommunications, media, commerce and T Map (mobile navigation service), to secure differentiated big data, with which it can develop/provide customized products and services.

Moreover, SK Telecom is securing competitiveness in 5G as a means to strengthen its network infrastructure. In June 2017, it successfully demonstrated 5G communications using the 3.5GHz band for the first time in Korea. The company also plans to develop mutually beneficial business models with diverse partners. In particular, under the strategic partnership with SM Entertainment, SK Telecom are to create new and innovative business models by combining its ICT with SM’s strength in content business.

“Despite the challenges in the mobile telecommunications market, SK Telecom posted improved results due to the strengthened performance of its main subsidiaries,” said Ryu Young-sang, CFO of SK Telecom. “SK Telecom will become a global leading ICT company by achieving meaningful growth in media and IoT, while maintaining leadership in the mobile network operations business.”

Published in Finance

SK Telecom CTO, Alex Jinsung Choi, has claimed that whilst AI (Artificial Intelligence) will undoubtedly play a critical role in enhancing 5G networks – the technology itself still has a long way to go. SK Telecom’s CTO was speaking ahead of a VR and AR summit at Mobile World Congress Shanghai. (MWCS 2017)

According to Choi, AI will become a natural part of a consumers daily life, but did expresses his fears that it still has a considerable way to go before it’s in a position to be commercially deployed on a large scale. However, he did concede that he feels that AI technology does have the capabilities to ‘transform our lives’ by realizing things beyond our imaginations.

Choi said, “Although AI is being talked about a lot recently, it still has a long way to go. However, it is clear the pace of AI development and advancement will be accelerated thanks to the rapid development of related software and hardware technologies. As a result, AI will be used in many more areas to become a natural part of our daily lives.”

The consumer applications of AI continue to dominate the discussion at ICT industry exhibitions and tradeshows. However, Choi believes that AI represents great potential for mobile operators to utilize the technology to enhance the performance of forthcoming 5G networks.

He said, “Mobile networks have grown in complexity as they evolved from 2G to 3G, then to 4G. In the era of 5G the networks will become even more complex due to the use of diverse mobile technologies and massive cells. Also, the number of services, applications and devices it must support will grow explosively. AI will play a crucial role in operating these 5G networks in a stable and efficient manner.

Published in Telecom Operators

South Korea’s SK Telecom announced that – through collaborations with Samsung Electronics and Nokia – it has successfully demonstrated 5G communications using the 3.5GHz band for the first time in South Korea. 

SK Telecom joined hands with Samsung Electronics to develop a 3.5GHz 5G end-to-end network comprised of 5G virtualized core, virtualized RAN, Distributed Unit (baseband unit and radio unit) and test device, based on the 3GPP 5G New Radio (5G NR) standards elements established to date. 3GPP has agreed upon key physical component technologies i.e. numerology, frame structure, channel coding, etc, of the air interface.

Based on this 3GPP NR specification, the two companies’ 5G NR system is built with 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. The two companies successfully completed the 5G end-to-end network trial using the 3.5GHz spectrum at Samsung Electronics’ R&D Center located in Suwon, Korea. 

Moreover, SK Telecom has also worked with Nokia to co-develop 5G base station equipment and test devices for the 3.5GHz spectrum and successfully realized Gbps-level throughput during a field trial held near its Bundang Office Building through the application of 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, thereby securing important data for designing optimal 5G commercial networks in the 3.5GHz band.  

Going forward, with the aim to secure key 5G technologies for early commercialization of 5G networks in the 3.5GHz band, SK Telecom will continue to work with Samsung Electronics and Nokia to further enhance transmission speeds, expand coverage and improve communication stability while on the move. 

Through successful trials of 3.5GHz 5G networks, SK Telecom has secured all essential technologies to deploy 5G networks using above-6GHz and below-6GHz frequencies. 28GHz, a potential above-6GHz frequency in Korea, can support several tens of Gbps through the use of a wide bandwidth of more than several hundreds of MHz. On the other hand, 3.5GHz, one of the below-6GHz frequencies, can provide a stable coverage in wider areas. 

SK Telecom plans to roll out its 5G networks by leveraging the respective strength of these frequencies. It will deploy commercial 5G networks using 28GHz in downtown areas where data traffic is most concentrated, while covering wide areas with 3.5GHz 5G networks or a combination of 3.5GHz and 28GHz 5G networks.

“With the successful demonstration of 5G communications using the 3.5GHz spectrum, SK Telecom has secured all key technologies for building commercial 5G networks using 3.5GHz and 28GHz frequency bands,” said Park Jin-hyo, Senior Vice President and Head of Network R&D Center of SK Telecom. “We will maintain our leadership in 5G by enhancing our technologies for both above-6GHz and below-6GHz frequencies, while playing an active role in the standardization and commercialization of 5G technologies.”

“We achieved another milestone today, taking 5G into the sub-6GHz spectrum for use cases and applications requiring wider area network coverage. The below 6GHz spectrum has been identified by the industry as ideal for enabling 5G services such as autonomous/connected car that require a wider area network,” said Park Dong-soo, Executive Vice President and Head of Global Sales & Marketing Team in Networks Business, Samsung Electronics. “Today’s trial with SK Telecom serves as a significant development in our collaborative efforts to accelerate 5G commercialization.”

Andrew Cope, head of Nokia Korea, said: “We are pleased to collaborate with SK Telecom on their journey towards 5G deployment. The 5G technology will enable a number of use cases such as critical machine-type communications, Internet of Things (IoT), Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. This demonstration on 3.5GHz band is a crucial step in the development of 5G ecosystem as it will enable increased data speeds and comprehensive coverage. Nokia is committed in future technology advancement and our partnership with SK Telecom will accelerate the development of the global 5G ecosystem.”

Published in Telecom Operators

SK Telecom successfully showcased its AR·VR platform - 'T Real VR Studio' at Google I/O 2017, held in Mountain View, California from May 17 to 19.'T Real VR Studio' is an integrated AR VR service platform utilized in multiple VR platforms including Daydream, Google's VR platform. SK Telecom has interlocked 'T real', its AR VR service platform, with Google Daydream to provide opportunities for all to easily create, share, and play the virtual content.

The highlighted functions of 'T Real VR Studio' include: VR content creation in a mobile environment, Voxel-based 3D model creation and editing, multi-user content creation and, VR virtual camera playback and recording.

SK Telecom explained that the most distinctive feature of 'T Real VR Studio' is the easy accessibility to VR content creation. 'T Real VR Studio' provides voxel-based modeling functions optimized for mobile VR controllers, building a simplified content creating environment that does not require professional knowledge. The created content is uploaded to the cloud and automatically converted to specialized 3D format (obj or Unity Scene format), and later can be modified and reloaded by professional tools such as 3D Max or Unity.

As VR content creation requires high level of technical expertise, it was originally limited to professional designers and developers, and was passively consumed by users. Now, with 'T Real VR Studio,' all users including amateurs can create and share VR content in an easy and flexible manner.

In addition, 'T Real VR Studio' works together with Tango, Google's AR platform/device. VR content created in 'T Real VR Studio' can be utilized as AR content when played in Tango. It can also be extended to other VR platforms such as Gear VR, Oculus, and HTC Vive.

SK Telecom sees great potential of VR technology and believes that inexhaustible VR content will potentially appear in various application areas such as gaming, education, construction, and marketing with the advent of 'T Real VR Studio'.

For example, the platform may help to create a block game for children which they can play at home, or an architectural simulation program to design a new city and forecast diverse situations by arranging various buildings and facilities. Furthermore, it can even design program that helps to make better design plan by reorganizing internal and external structure of the machine parts materialized in 3D.

"To popularize VR, it is essential to enrich the VR content used in educational and industrial fields in addition to consumption-based content for gaming and entertainment', says Alex Jinsung Choi, CTO of SK Telecom. "As 'T Real VR Studio' allows concurrent multi-user access to produce and modify VR content, we at SK Telecom are expecting an innovative change in the VR environment, leading to a 5G era that enables ultra-high speed and ultra-low latency transmission of massive data", he added.

SK Telecom has been involved in AR·VR technology development since 2010. The company released an AR platform 'T-AR' in 2014, and extended to 'T Real' as total AR/VR platform in 2016. Regarding T real, the company is providing Soft Development Kit (SDK) to developers at no charge. SK Telecom is also actively cooperating with partners such as Leap Motion and Inuitive in developing manipulation technology for virtual content, such as gesture recognition and tracking based on 3D depth sensor. As part of the AR·VR projects, SK Telecom has demonstrated 'T-AR for Project Tango' in collaboration with Tango, Google's AR platform, at Google I/O 2015.

Published in Gadget
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