KT confirmed details of an ambitious plan to conduct extensive trials of pre-standard 5G technology at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, ahead of full commercial rollout in 2019.
Speaking at the IEEE Brooklyn 5G Summit in the US, KT EVP Hong-Beom Jeon said the company had already tested 5G use cases based on its own specifications for the technology, and was on track to meet its target of rolling-out trial networks for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, which take place in February 2018.
The keynote session fleshed out plans for the trials first discussed in December 2016.
KT plans to provision venues with 5G-like technologies to enhance spectator experience, including tracking specific athletes on cross-country routes, and real time 360-degree VR views from the perspective of tobogganers.
Its 28GHz systems will be deployed at events in Gangneung, PyeongChang, Jeongseon and Bokwang, in addition to a limited service within Seoul.
The company previously performed initial field tests at recent winter sporting events in the country and is confident its system will be ready for the start of the event – which it dubs “The World’s First 5G Olympics” – on 9 February 2018.
Following the trials, Jeon expects full commercial deployment in the country will take place during 2019.
The EVP told delegates KT had been using its own specifications for the technology, which it might need to change when official 3GPP standards are unveiled at end-March 2018.
“Maybe these systems are different to the 3GPP specs so for the commercialisation we need to do some upgrade work,” he said, adding: “Using this trial we can get a lot of experience for the commercialisation.”
In addition to trials surrounding sporting events, the company conducted tests of an autonomous 5G bus in streets near its office in Seoul.