Swings and roundabouts for new SK Telecom 5G playground

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SK Telecom will launch a trial 5G service in 2017, as the Korean operator opened a new cross vendor "playground" at its Bundang R&D centre.

The playground will bring together the range of 5G research projects SK Telecom has launched during the past few years. It will comprise a testbed, showcase area and lab that will support other companies to develop 5G use cases.

The operator also marked a new 5G milestone today with the demonstration of speeds of 19.1GBps through trials with Nokia. They had been working on a new centimetre wave based 5G radio system that comprised a new air interface, MIMO technology and 256 quadrature amplitude modulation. Both companies hit the speeds by using 8x8 MIMO and 400MHz of bandwidth.

Elsewhere, the operator and vendor have developed an SDN-enabled evolved packet core, which they said supports high levels of traffic and low latencies.

Meanwhile, SK Telecom and Ericsson have built a centimetre wave based radio system, which they said offers low latencies, lower levels of interference between cells and "dynamic" uplink and downlink transmissions rates.

The vendor is planning to integrate this system with its recently announced network slicing technology, which they said would create an end to end 5G network.

SK Telecom is also planning to take the 3D beamforming tech it developed with Samsung and extend it to a multi-cell environment. It said the tech helped overcome channel issues within the millimetre wave.

Other existing projects include 5G small cell and massive MIMO with Cloud RAN research with Intel, and new 5G air interfaces with Rohde and Schwartz.

SK Telecom is also testing augmented reality, ultra-high definition video and tabletop touchscreen computing device with the likes of Sony and Google.

Alex Jinsung Choi, Chief Technology Officer of SK Telecom, said: “SK Telecom is delighted to announce the opening of 5G Playground, which will serve as a hub for innovations towards achieving 5G, which holds the power to turn our imaginations into reality.

"At 5G Playground, SK Telecom will work relentlessly with global leading companies to develop 5G technologies and services, while building a 5G ecosystem that brings benefits to all stakeholders.”