South Korea’s largest cellco by subscribers SK Telecom (SKT) has that, in partnership with Samsung Electronics, it has successfully tested its 5G system at 28GHz in an outdoor environment. SKT has confirmed that it actually built the millimetre wave 5G system with Samsung Electronics in late August 2015, with field tests using outdoor 5G base stations and a vehicle equipped with a 5G test handset having been conducted since October 2015; these tests have focused on measuring and analysing service quality in the field – i.e. service coverage, transmission speed, latency and radio wave/signal strength. Now, SKT has claimed that the results from the trials will be ‘an important asset for building an enhanced 5G system, including its 5G pilot networks to be built within the end of this year’. Meanwhile, with SKT noting that it actually began developing 5G specifications last year to build 5G trial services, it claims to have completed its development in March 2016. Looking ahead, the operator said it plans to discuss specifications for 5G trial services at the 5G Open Trial Specification Alliance.
Outlining some of the technical details of the trials, SKT revealed that 5G Millimetre Wave technologies applied to the test include transmitter, receiver and antenna technologies designed to effectively transmit radio signals in the 28GHz band, as well as 3D beamforming, the latter of which compensates radio propagation path loss in the higher frequency bands caused by the short wavelengths of millimetre waves and high atmospheric attenuation.
Commenting on the trial, Park Jin-hyo, Senior Vice President and Head of Network Technology R&D Center at SKT, was cited as saying: ‘Building on its extensive experience and capabilities acquired over the last three decades in the field of mobile telecommunications, SK Telecom is set to maintain its leadership in the 5G era by leading the development of 5G technologies and services … And with the successful field test of a 28GHz millimetre wave 5G system, SK Telecom moves one important step closer to achieving the world’s first commercialisation of 5G.’