SK Telecom teams with Nokia Networks on eICIC

South Korea's SK Telecom is hooking up with Nokia (NYSE:NOK) Networks on what they're calling the world's first commercialization of Enhanced Inter-Cell Interference Coordination (eICIC), a core LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) technology.

eICIC is a technology that controls signal interference between macro and micro base stations to enhance the quality of the LTE-A network. With the deployment of eICIC, SK Telecom can reduce inter-cell interference by 15 percent in traffic congested areas where macro and micro cells are concentrated, according to a press release.

SK Telecom has applied eICIC to its LTE-A network located in Gwangju Metropolitan City and plans to apply the technology to the rest of its nationwide LTE-A network by the first half of 2016.

The two companies said that, with the commercialization of eICIC, they also moved a step closer to realizing the next-generation network (5G) as eICIC will be an essential technology in the era of 5G where heterogeneous networks will become more complex.

By using eICIC, SK Telecom's customers can use their existing LTE devices with no need to buy new smartphones, said Tero Peltola, vice president of FDD LTE at Nokia Networks, in a press release.

Just last week, SK Telecom announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Nokia to conduct joint research and development on 5G with the ultimate goal of demonstrating the technology in 2018 and commercially launching it in 2020. Part of that work involves collaboration around the development of millimeter wave, or mmWave, technology, which uses wideband spectrum in ultra-high frequency bands like 6.5 GHz or higher.

In an interview with FierceWirelessTech, Peter Merz, head of Radio Systems for Nokia Networks' Technology & Innovations group, said 5G likely will find its way into existing frequency bands as well as potentially the higher bands. It's important to have the lower frequency bands to provide coverage, but the industry and research communities are looking heavily at 6.5 GHz and up to 100 GHz.

Nokia is working on an experimental system with NTT DoCoMo that works at 73 GHz. Nokia is also working with New York University (NYU) Wireless Director Ted Rappaport, as well as other experts around the world, to examine the potential opportunities in mmW.  

For more:
- see this press release

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