South Korean operator SK Telecom has launched what it says is the world's first pilot service for Multi-Carrier (MC) LTE technology, with an eye to a commercial launch in July.
The company has commenced pilot services using the technology, which enables the use of 800-MHz and 1.8-GHz frequency bands. The trial will be used to try to optimize handover between frequencies in advance of the commercial launch.
SK Telecom plans to apply MC technology to the whole Seoul area by the year end, and in 23 other South Korean cities by early 2013. Being able to utilize both bands simultaneously will give SK Telecom 40-MHz of spectrum to use for LTE service, twice the bandwidth of its competitors. The operator claims this will allow it to offer the nation's fastest LTE connections.
At launch, only one handset – the Vega Racer 2 – will support MC technology. But SK Telecom said it was in talks with handset markets to include MC as a basic feature for LTE smartphones.