The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) lauded SK Telecom’s deployment of CDMA technology, inducting the operator into its equivalent of the rock and roll hall of fame for a rollout involving Samsung and LG Electronics in 1996.

SK Telecom joins a list of luminaries awarded the IEEE Milestone which includes Benjamin Franklin for his work to develop electricity, Guglielmo Marconi’s pioneering wireless communications endeavours and the invention of electric batteries by Alessandro Volta.

The South Korean operator explained the IEEE Milestone award is essentially the ICT sector’s hall of fame, a Nobel Prize-level recognition which had previously been dominated by companies in North America, Europe and Japan.

SK Telecom CEO Ryu Young-sang stated it is delighted to be the first Korean company on the IEEE’s list, citing a pioneering spirit the operator continues in the present day in terms of AI.

A group of ten individuals, nine men in suits and one woman in a business outfit, stand outside a modern building, clapping on a red carpet. A plaque with

IEEE president-elect Kathleen Kramer explained the award is in recognition of the “collaborative efforts and visionary spirit” which delivered a key technology. SK Telecom noted CDMA delivered a tenfold increase in call capacity over analogue and was introduced in response to soaring demand for mobile communications.

In addition to Samsung and LG Electronics, SK Telecom worked with the Korean-government funded Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute on its CDMA launch.

The operator stated the companies opted for CDMA rather than TDMA because it had a “dramatically high growth potential”.

Along with government backing, SK Telecom noted Samsung and LG Electronics “actively cooperated to unify” the technology as the nation’s standard and deliver the world’s first commercial implementation.