SK Telecom claims to have launched the first commercial tri-band LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) service with a theoretical peak download speed of up to 300Mb/s.
The network aggregates three frequency bands: 20MHz of 1.8GHz spectrum, 10MHz in the 800MHz band and 10MHz in the 2.1GHz band. SK Telecom said the service is four times faster than LTE and 21 times faster than 3G.
SK Telecom said tri-band LTE-A is now offered in areas where signals from all three frequency bands overlap. The company said in a statement that since it already has LTE-A coverage – with 800MHz and 1.8GHz base stations in place – in 84 cities, it can offer tri-band service by adding 2.1GHz base stations. The company plans to roll out more than 26,000 2.1GHz base stations in the first quarter.
It announced in June that its LTE-A service supports speeds of up to 225Mb/s using two-carrier aggregation. The operator, the country’s leading mobile player with a 49 per cent market share, launched LTE-A service aggregating two carriers (10MHz in the 1.8GHz band and 10MHz in the 800MHz band). The network had peak downlink speeds of 150Mb/s.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 S-LTE, the first tri-band LTE-A capable device, will be available to consumers who are willing to provide feedback on the service. The new service will be priced the same as LTE.
Interestingly, rival operator KT is reported to have blasted SK Telecom for misleading marketing, claiming that the launch is more like a trial-test rather than a commercially-available one.
SingTel in August launched the world’s first commercial LTE-A network supporting theoretical peak download speeds of up to 300Mb/s using carrier aggregation across two 20MHz bands.