South Korea’s Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA) adopted SK Telecom’s (SKT) newly developed fronthaul specification as a national standard for future 5G networks.

The operator’s fronthaul specification is designed as an open standard, which it said differs from LTE fronthaul where major vendors used their own specifications since there was no official standard. Such a variety of specs created a barrier to entry for small and mid-sized vendors, and start-ups, SKT said.

Compared to LTE networks, 5G networks are expected to require a higher base station density with an increased capacity for data processing. These requirements emphasise the significant role of fronthaul in transmitting the radio signals received from cell sites to the central units.

“In the world of 5G, where data transmission volume goes large along with a dramatic increase in the types of services available on the network, open standard-based fronthaul architecture is critical,” said Park Jin-hyo, head of SKT’s network technology R&D centre: “We are committed to boosting the growth of the 5G ecosystem in collaboration with local vendors and start-ups.”

SKT said it will also seek colloborations to accelerate the adoption of the fronthaul specs as a 3GPP standard.