SK Telecom closer to aggregating 40 MHz of bandwidth using three disparate spectrum bands

SK Telecom said it will build out more 1.8 GHz base stations this year to provide 20 MHz of additional LTE bandwidth across South Korea and announced it is moving closer to rolling out a 10 MHz segment of the 2.1 GHz band that will enable it to provide 40 MHz of carrier-aggregated bandwidth.

The operator said the 1.8 GHz base stations it plans to deploy will secure nationwide coverage for its LTE and LTE-Advanced networks by year's end, delivering downlink speeds up to 150 Mbps.

"As SK Telecom already built a nationwide LTE network using 10 MHz in the 800 MHz frequency band in April 2012, the nationwide rollout of this 20 MHz LTE will provide the company with an important edge in deploying nationwide '20 MHz (1.8 GHz) + 10 MHz (800 MHz)' LTE-Advanced network that offers up to 225 Mbps of speed," the operator said.

SK also recently gained government approval to use 10 MHz bandwidth in the 2.1 GHz band for LTE and will begin building out compatible base stations next quarter. The company holds a license for 30 MHz in that band, which it won via a frequency auction in 2010.

The operator said it eventually intends to use tri-band LTE Advanced carrier aggregation to combine 10 MHz in 800 MHz band, 20 MHz in 1.8 GHz band and 10 MHz in the 2.1 GHz band. SK first announced last month that it had developed LTE-A technology enabling it to aggregate the three component carriers using two different bandwidth sizes to create total bandwidth of 40 MHz and offer data speeds up to 300 Mbps.

Such speeds will be dependent upon the arrival of supporting handsets. SK said a chipset that supports 300 Mbps is being developed. In the meantime, SK expects to deploy multi-carrier technology in the 2.1 GHz band.

SK also said last month that it will demo carrier aggregation of three 20 MHz bands during the Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, delivering download speeds of 450 Mbps.

For more:
- see this SK Telecom release

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