Korean carrier SK Telecom signed agreements with Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung Electronics for joint research and development in advanced 5G and “6G” mobile network technologies.
Under the agreements, SK Telecom will work closely with each company on the advancement of 5G network technologies. They will jointly promote development and commercialization of advanced 5G technologies, including ultra-reliable and low-latency communications (URLLC), enhanced multi-input multi-output (MIMO), “differentiated 28GHz technology”, and standalone (SA) 5G networks.
Moreover, SK Telecom will conduct joint research and development activities with the three network equipment providers in the field of 6G mobile network technologies. Through close consultations, they will draft technical requirements and new business models for 6G, the Korean carrier said.
“Through strengthened cooperation with Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung Electronics, SK Telecom will be able to secure the world’s best 5G quality and lead the way towards 6G mobile network communications,” said Park Jin-hyo, CTO and head of SK Telecom’s ICT R&D Center.
While there are still no technological standards for what would constitute a 6G network, and 5G technology is only available in a few countries, the tech cooperation with these vendors will help the telco to take a lead in the competitive tech industry, SK Telecom said.
The carrier added that it also discussed with the two European vendors ways to advance the current 5G technology, agreeing first to develop sophisticated network technologies and incorporate them in its commercial network.
The announcement came after President Moon Jae-concluded his recent eight-day trip to Sweden, Finland and Norway.
SK Telecom officially launched commercial 5G services across the country at the beginning of April. The company has rolled out its 5G network in data traffic-concentrated areas, including university districts, sports stadiums, highways, subway lines (Seoul and Seoul Metropolitan Area) and beaches.
The telco also said that it is expanding in-building coverage in 120 department stores, shopping malls and airports throughout the country.
In the second half of 2019, SK Telecom aims to expand its 5G network coverage to nationwide subways, national parks and festival sites.
The operator expects to attract approximately 1 million 5G customers by the end of this year. It has a total of 27 million users.
SK Telecom has also introduced four different plans for its commercial 5G offering. The number of 5G subscribers in South Korea was expected to hit the 1 million mark by mid-June, according to recent press reports.
Meanwhile, at the end of May, 5G subscribers were approximately 778,000, a steady rise from 271,000 at the end of April.
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