Competition quickens as KT rolls out test LTE-A

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Competition quickens as KT rolls out test LTE-A

The war of speed among the nation’s three mobile carriers has begun once again, as KT tested commercial network service of its broadband LTE Advanced (LTE-A) service yesterday in some areas of Gangnam, southern Seoul.

Although LTE-A networks are typically twice as fast as LTE, the network KT tested is three times faster.

Normal LTE-A doubles LTE data flow from 75 megabits per second to 150 megabits.

KT, the nation’s second-largest mobile carrier, said yesterday it has implemented LTE-A service of 220 megabits per second in the commercial network of Irwon-dong and Suseo-dong.

As faster broadband LTE-A emerges as this year’s biggest issue, the competition between SK Telecom and KT to secure the title as nation’s first LTE-A provider is drawing much attention.

After KT announced yesterday that it is rolling out the 225-megabit broadband LTE-A for the first time in the country, SK Telecom said it was the first to introduce LTE-A technology - in November.

“Although the technology was first introduced by SK Telecom last November, KT succeeded in implementing the technology in the commercial network,” said a KT spokesman.

However, in order for consumers to use wireless Internet at 225 megabits per second, they must have a handset that supports the LTE-A service.

Industry insiders predict that LTE-A compatible devices will be launched earlier than expected in the first half of the year.

“We will begin offering the service to subscribers immediately after the handset is launched,” said a spokesman for KT.

KT added that it also has developed a technology that provides 300 megabits per second, even faster than the LTE-A.

By tying up the two frequencies of the 20 megahertz (MHz) bandwidth, the newly assigned bands that boast up to twice the normal width, the speed it provides is four times faster than existing LTE service.

KT plans to introduce the technology at the Mobile World Congress, which will be held in Spain at the end of next month.

“As in the case of LTE, the first mover in commercializing the network service can attract early subscribers. As the first mobile carrier to launch the service can lead the market, mobile carriers are particularly sensitive to the phrase ‘first provider,’?” said an industry insider.

Last year, LG U+ enjoyed the first-mover advantage, seeing a growth in its number of subscribers and an improving financial structure after it was the first carrier to establish and roll out the LTE network in the country.


BY KIM JUNG-YOON [kjy@joongang.co.kr]
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