South Korea’s SK Telecom and Swedish supplier Ericsson said they had successfully demonstrated so-called ‘elastic cell’ technology to improve data transfer rates by up to 50 per cent – at the boundary areas of cells – compared with existing LTE networks.

SK Telecom aims to commercialise elastic cell by 2016. This, says the operator, will bring it one step closer to achieving its goal of “1Gb/s data throughput anywhere” (an expected requirement of future 5G services).

Also known as flexible cell, the new technology cleverly creates a “user-centric environment” where multiple cells near the handset cooperate for every transmission. This could mean, for example, that nearby cells causing interference could be temporarily switched off.

As a result, said the two companies, elastic cell can ensure more seamless data transmission by preventing possible quality degradation that can occur when the handset moves across cell boundaries.

This arrangement is claimed to be much more flexible than today’s “cell-centric” environment where each handset communicates with only one specific cell.

Ericsson and SK Telecom, earlier in the month, signed an MoU to jointly develop technologies that could form 5G standards.

The cooperation between the two companies came quickly on the heels of a deal struck between the European Commission and South Korea’s government to pool resources on 5G and ICT R&D.