KT networks equipped to drain batteries less

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KT networks equipped to drain batteries less

KT announced Wednesday that a technology that minimizes battery usage by smartphones was installed throughout its long-term evolution (LTE) fourth-generation network, a first for the industry.

The company claims the new technology, which was put into effect April 1, lengthens the battery life of a phone by as much as 45 percent.

“Given per-capita LTE data traffic surged 260 percent in the past three years, we expect we may be able to meet the need of customers who wish to use smartphones longer without charging,” said Kang Kook-hyun, head of the Marketing Strategy Business Unit at KT, at a press conference Wednesday.”

The technology became automatically available to any customers using smartphones on KT’s LTE networks.

The technology, dubbed “connected mode discontinuous reception” periodically switches its communication with smartphone on KT’s LTE network to low-power mode so the connection eats up less battery.

In the past, communication between a smartphone’s modem and a carrier’s base station was continuous, which led to a draining of the battery. Now, when there is no data exchanged, communication is minimized so battery use is minimized.

Even when a customer watches a video streaming over the upgraded network, the data is transmitted over an optimized frequency that uses less power.

The quality of the streaming is unaffected.

KT compared the new technology to the start-stop system in some vehicles, which automatically stops and restarts an internal combustion engine to trim the amount of time the engine idles, reducing fuel consumption.

A recent test by the Telecommunications Technology Association using the latest Samsung Electronics Galaxy S8 smartphone showed that the new network helped lengthen the battery life after a single charge by between three hours and 13 minutes and four hours and 27 minutes.

When the S8 streamed a YouTube video without the new technology, it took from nine hours and 57 minutes to 10 hours and 36 minutes to drain the battery.

On the new system, the battery lasted for as much as 14 hours and 24 minutes.

A Galaxy S7 Edge had its battery life extended by up to 43 percent. Other smartphones saw extensions of 35 to 40 percent.

KT noted that degree of extension may vary according to smartphone models and the number of applications on the phone.

Top telecom operator SK Telecom completed installation of the same technology nationwide last May but it has been available in pilot service in some areas of the Seoul metropolitan region and Chungcheong. The company plans to upgrade its entire network soon, but didn’t elaborate on when.

The smallest player, LG U+, says it has also wrapped up development of the new network solution and is ready to commercialize it “any time.”

“We will consider deploying the network when the demand is deemed high,” said an LG U+ spokesman.

BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]
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