Korea Telecom made a splash in early 2017 with its announcement that it would roll out a trial 5G network ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. The trial network is expected to cover events in Bokwang, Gangneung, Jeongseon, PyeongChang, and Seoul.
The plan was for Korea Telecom 5G to use proprietary specifications to explore 5G use cases and prepare to launch a 28 GHz pilot service by October 2017. According to Korea Telecom, the rollout will be both pre-standard and pre-commercial, with the company hoping that components of the work will be integrated into the 3GPP standard. KT expects full commercial deployment in 2019.
Korea Telecom 5G Tests with Ericsson
Korea Telecom 5G partnered with Ericsson to plan the deployment and optimization of the trial 5G network. The 28 GHz network features a virtualized radio access network (vRAN) and core system. The companies are jointly developing beamforming and tracking technologies for 5G/4G LTE interoperability to help operators optimize capacity and coverage.
Korea Telecom and Ericsson are also conducting tests along the Incheon Airport Railway, which is a high-speed rail line connecting Seoul with Incheon International Airport. The tests included a handover between 5G base stations along the railway and a peak throughput of 4-Gb/s.
“Stability and interoperability among multiple services, systems, and device manufacturers needs to be verified well in in advance of the trial network,” said Seong-Mok Oh, Korea Telecom’s head of networks. “We are raising the bar through our collaboration with partners such as Ericsson, who are leading 5G technology and standardization.”
Korea Telecom 5G Tests with AT&T and Verizon
In mid-2017, AT&T announced its intent to work with Korea Telecom, focusing on software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV). A crucial meeting between the two companies took place at the Korea Telecom Research & Development Center, with the participation of AT&T Chief Strategy Officer John Donovan and Lee Dong-myeon, director of the Korea Telecom Technology Convergence Center.
“We expect that cooperation through AT&T’s SDN/NFV leadership and Korea Telecom 5G leadership will create synergies to solve challenges of the telecom industry in the future,” said Lee.
Korea Telecom 5G is also working with Verizon to demonstrate a live hologram call over their 5G trial networks. The demonstration call between Korea Telecom 5G and Verizon featured company employees who appeared on each other’s monitors as 3-D hologram images. The 5G trial network was deployed over the 28 GHz spectrum.