LG U+, Ericsson partner to develop ‘Beyond 4G’

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LG U+, Ericsson partner to develop ‘Beyond 4G’

On top of being the world’s most wired country, Korea has seen rapid penetration of the fourth generation long-term evolution (LTE) network. In seven years, Koreans might experience data speed theoretically up to 1,000 times faster than LTE, as mobile carriers and the government scramble to adopt the fifth-generation network.

LG U+, the third-largest mobile service operator, yesterday joined hands with Sweden’s Ericsson to conduct research and development for a next-generation network it has dubbed “Beyond 4G.” It refers to the technology standard between the current 4G and more advanced 5G.

The two partners will work together on technologies to minimize frequency interference to enhance data transmission speed; make large frequency bases help smaller bases expand coverage; and distinguish between telecommunication bases exchanging signal controls and those receiving and sending actual traffic, enhancing both data quality and speed. Such technologies are evolved forms of LTE-Advanced technology, currently state of the art. LTE-A doubles the data transmission speed of LTE.

LG U+ said yesterday that Chairman Lee Sang-cheol visited Ericsson headquarters in Stockholm to sign a memorandum of understanding with Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg to strengthen cooperation in LTE-A service and collaborate on the next generation beyond 4G.

“The partnership is aimed at presenting international standards for not only LTE-A, but also beyond 4G mobile communications,” said Lee in a lecture to Ericsson’s R&D workers.

LTE-A was developed separately by SK Telecom, the top player, and LG U+. SK Telecom was the first to launch the service on June 26 and has attracted 150,000 new subscriptions in just two weeks, the company said yesterday. The figure accounts for 30 percent of all new subscriptions the top carrier accepted during the period. LG U+ is set to launch the service early next week. The mobile carrier under LG Group has been preparing since May for the upgrading of LTE equipment to support the new service in partnership with Ericsson LG, the joint venture between LG Electronics and Ericsson, as well as Nokia Siemens Networks and Samsung Electronics.

“The average data volume an LTE subscriber consumed was 1.1 gigabytes per month in late 2011, when the LTE was launched, and the figure has almost doubled to 2.1 gigabytes,” said Kim Jang-won, an analyst with IBK Investment & Securities. “With the LTE having been upgraded to LTE-A, data usage is seen to expand further.”

To live up to its standing as a tech powerhouse, the Korean government is spearheading an effort to be the leader in the new mobile network standard that will make it possible to download high-definition video in just one second. In theory, the 5G network will boast data transmission speeds of 100 gigabytes per second, versus 100 megabytes per second for LTE.

The Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning on May 30 launched the “5G Forum” with nine private companies consisting of mobile carriers, telecom equipment producers and a research institute under the ministry, betting the future of the country’s wireless technologies on 5G connectivity.

Advanced economies also have been rushing to take the lead on the next-generation mobile technology. The European Union last year formed METIS, which stands for mobile and wireless communications enablers for the twenty-twenty (2020) information society, to discuss commercialization of 5G networks, while China’s telecom giant Huawei Technologies said last month it was gearing up to lead the rollout of faster 5G wireless systems in the next decade.

BY SEo ji-eun [spring@joongang.co.kr]
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