As LTE-Advanced commitments reach 60 worldwide, SK Telecom scores 221 Mbps in speed test

According to analyst firm ABI Research, carriers across the world are moving apace toward LTE-Advanced technology. The firm estimated there are currently roughly 60 LTE-Advanced trials, commitments and commercial deployments worldwide, of which 22 commitments were from Western Europe, 16 from Asia-Pacific, and five from North America.

And, according to a recent report from Signals Research Group, carriers could be able to offer blazing fast speeds thanks to the deployment of LTE-Advanced technology. In a recent test of SK Telecom's new LTE-Advanced network, Signals Research recorded a top download speed of 221 Mbps.

"Generally, we are a bit careful when it comes to throwing out hyperbole, but when you are traveling in a subway train with standing room only and sustaining data rates well above 150 Mbps to a smartphone that you are holding in your hand it is hard to do otherwise," Signals wrote in its report. "Our normal experience is riding a BART train in the San Francisco Bay area where in several places you can't buy a single bar of 2G voice or 3G data coverage, let alone LTE coverage, if your life depended on it."

The firm said it tested SK's network around Seoul during a four-day period in August using Samsung Galaxy S5 Cat 6 and Cat 4 phones, with testing equipment from Spirent, Innowireless and others. The firm said Samsung was SK's network infrastructure supplier in the city. The firm said SK provided the handsets but took no part in the independent testing process.

Signals said it transferred more than 450 GB of data during the testing, and recorded a median downlink data rate of 98.9 Mbps with a top speed of 221.11 Mbps. The firm said SK's data rate was higher than 150 Mbps for 19 percent of the time and it was less than 25 Mbps for only 4 percent of the time. Signals said the median uplink data rate was 23.1 Mbps (using 10 MHz channels) and it recorded a top upload speed of 25.1 Mbps.

The firm also said it measured consistent latency speeds of 20-25 ms.

"Carrier aggregation (CA) is the most important feature of LTE-Advanced, which helps mobile carriers to utilize all spectrum resources to increase data rates," said ABI's Marina Lu. "Apart from CA, LTE-Advanced also incorporates other enhancements, like advanced antenna techniques, interference management, and efficient use of heterogeneous networks."

For more:
- see this ABI release
- see this detailed Signals report (PDF)

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