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SK Telecom and Samsung complete mobile 5G test

Carrier tested millimeter waves in the 28 GHz band

Korean telecom operator SK Telecom and compatriot vendor Samsung Electronics claimed to have successfully tested a “5G” system using 28 GHz spectrum in an outdoor environment. The two firms said the millimeter wave technology applied to the test included transmitters, receivers and antennas designed to transmit radio signals in the 28 GHz band.

SK Telecom and Samsung developed the next-generation mobile system in August 2015, and have been conducting field tests using outdoor base stations and a vehicle equipped with a test handset since late last year to measure and analyze service quality.

The Korean mobile operator said the test results will be key for the development of the firm’s 5G system, including a pilot to be built by the end of 2016. SK Telecom began developing 5G specifications last year to build trial services.

“This 5G field trial is one of the key milestones for the world’s first 5G commercialization,” said Cheun Kyung-whoon, EVP and head of Samsung’s Communications Research Team and Mobile Communications Business, in a statement. “This strategic collaboration will lead to the early adoption of 5G communications and provision of immersive service experience to end users.”

“With the successful field test of a 28 GHz millimeter wave 5G system, SK Telecom moves one important step closer to achieving the world’s first commercialization of 5G,” added Park Jin-hyo, EVPand head of SK Telecom’s Network Technology R&D Center.

SK Telecom launched LTE service in July 2011, commercialized 150-megabit per second updates in June 2013, and 225 Mbps LTE-Advanced services in June 2014 through carrier aggregation. The Asian telco also launched 300 Mbps tri-band LTE-A capabilities in mid-2015.

The Asian telco ended the last quarter of 2015 with 18.98 million LTE subscribers, a 13.4% increase compared the year-ago period. LTE subscribers accounted for 66.3% of the operator’s overall mobile base at the end of last year.

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