SK Telecom (SKT), as part of its R&D efforts to accelerate the launch of 5G service, announced it achieved a peak download speed of 4Gb/s using pre-standard 5G relay repeaters in a demo.

The South Korea-based operator used in-building relay repeaters operating in the 28GHz and 3.5GHz bands in a 5G trial network at its office in Seoul. Relay repeaters help deliver seamless network connections indoors by transferring wireless signals to radio shadow areas, the company said in a statement.

SKT jointly developed a repeater operating in the 28GHz band with HFR, an optical and radio technology specialist, and an in-building relay repeater capable of delivering radio signals in the 3.5GHz band using existing infrastructure with communication equipment maker SK Telesys.

Because the trial network uses existing antennas for 2G, 3G and LTE services, the operator said it can reduce time to build indoor network for 5G service by only installing the 3.5GHz band relay repeater.

It said it developed the 5G relay capabilities for both indoor and outdoor settings and deployed a repeater at its 5G trial network near Gangnam station in Seoul to expand radio coverage in the densely populated area.

VR call
The operator, in collaboration with Samsung, also said it demonstrated a 360-degree VR video call on a tablet-sized device using its trial 5G network to connect callers in different parts of Seoul. The company said the callers were able to access the video even while moving around an area surrounded by high-rise buildings.

SKT and rival KT are conducting a series of 5G trials, with services expected to be partially available during the forthcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in February 2018. 5G services are expected to be deployed nationwide in South Korea by 2020.

Despite their ambitious targets, 5G isn’t expected to be officially ratified by 3GPP as a technology until 2018, with widespread commercial launches expected from 2020.