LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE ASIA EXPO: SK Telecom said it had launched the world’s first LTE-Advanced service through smartphones, offering theoretical peak download speeds of up to 150Mb/s. The deployment is three months ahead of an earlier promise of September 2013.
The company said it has “fiercely competed” with other global operators to be the first to commercialise LTE-Advanced. It said that 13 operators in 8 markets have announced plans to rollout the technology, with four aiming to launch in 2013.
The South Korean operator said that LTE-Advanced will be available to customers with its existing 4G price plans, meaning there is no additional charge to use the high-speed network.
Services will be available to owners of Samsung’s “Galaxy S4 LTE-A”, and SKT plans to provide a total of seven different LTE-A compatible smartphones in the second half of this year.
SKT says the download speeds are “two times faster than that of LTE, and 10 times faster than 3G… For instance, LTE-A users can download an 800MB movie in just 43 seconds.”
Currently, the network covers all of Seoul, central areas of 42 cities in Gyeonggi-do and Chungcheong-do, and 103 university areas.
The intention is to “gradually expand its LTE-A coverage to 84 cities across the nation”.
Earlier this week, Alex Choi, EVP and head of ICT R&D for SK Telecom, told Mobile World Live that operators evolving their networks to LTE-Advanced ahead of rivals will gain “competitive advantages from not only the strengthened network quality but also the increased service competitiveness”.