South Korea’ three mobile carriers are already focusing on the provision of in-building wireless technology through 5G, Korean press reported.
According to a recent report by Korea Times, SK Telecom, the country’s largest telecommunications operator has recently completed the development of the “5GX In-building Solution”, which is capable of doubling the speed of 5G data transfer inside buildings and effectively dispersing data traffic to prevent overload on base stations in crowded areas such as shopping malls and subway stations.
SK Telecom also said this new in-building wireless technology will be applied to its commercial 5G networks after the third quarter of the year.
“We will provide seamless high-quality 5G services to our customers inside buildings and at crowded areas where it is hard for 5G signal to reach,” SK Telecom’s 5GX Labs head Park Jong-kwan was quoted as saying.
“We expect 80% of data traffic to be from inside buildings in the 5G era,” the executive added.
The company said its new system features “active antenna” technology that allows 5G small cells to be equipped with eight transmission and reception antennas. The carrier highlighted that this technology will double the speed of 5G data transfer as existing indoor base stations are capable of operating four transmission and reception antennas, according to the report.
Rival operator KT has also been working to expand 5G coverage inside buildings.
In May, the carrier had interlocked 5G repeaters with commercial 5G networks in cooperation with small and medium business partners. KT is in charge of expanding 5G coverage in 95 large buildings out of 119 nationwide, such as airports and KTX stations, in a joint project carried out by the three mobile carriers.
Meanwhile, LG Uplus has been installing repeaters in small and medium buildings and underground parking lots to expand 5G coverage.
The telco is also planning to expand the application of beam-forming and multi-user MIMO technologies to its 5G networks across Korea.
South Korea claimed to be the first country in the world to launch full 5G commercial services on April 3.
The three Korean carriers launched limited 5G commercial services in December 2018 as part of an agreement with the ICT ministry to launch simultaneously to avoid excessive competition. The three mobile carriers initially launched the 5G service in limited areas in Seoul
In June 2018, South Korea completed a tender process through which it awarded spectrum in both the 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz bands. The government made available a total of 280 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz spectrum band and 2,400 megahertz in the 28 GHz band. The spectrum was divided into 28 blocks and 24 blocks.
Participant operators SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus had a 10-block cap per spectrum band. The telcos paid a total of 3.6183 trillion won ($3.3 billion) for the spectrum, 340 billion won higher than the starting price of 3.3 trillion won.