SK Telecom: “SA 5G will be the cornerstone of the true 5G era”
Korean mobile operator SK Telecom (SKT) and network infrastructure vendor Ericsson have completed testing of an end-to-end 5G transmission using handsets, radio equipment and a 5G core, a critical step towards the commercialization of standalone (SA) 5G.
Standalone 5G is will be more efficient than the non-standalone (NSA) version, leading to lower costs for operators and better performance for users, and would also eliminate the issue of “upswitching” latency, which occurs when a device first switches from LTE to 5G. This is because the SA version would not require the support of a 4G LTE network to perform certain functions. SA 5G requires the use of new 5G network cores, such as the ones provided in this case by Ericsson.
SKT stated that the key areas of focus for the testing were the development of network slicing and mobile edge computing. The company also claimed that SA testing resulted in connected speeds that were more than twice as fast as data processing speeds that were three-times as fast.
Park Jin’hyo, head of SKT’s ICT Technology Centre called SA 5G the potential “cornerstone of the true 5G era,” adding, “[it]will be the foundation for innovation and change in the entire industry.”
Earlier this summer, SKT took made another advancement in 5G with Samsung when the two companies successfully tested interoperability between a 5G SA core and a commercial network.
Just last week, Ericsson achieved similar success with Qualcomm, completing a successful data connection compliant with the 3GPP 5G New Radio standard in SA mode.
SKT expects to commercialize a standalone version of 5G sometime in 2020, and The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) intends to finalize the 5G SA standard in December this year.
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