SK Telecom to light up LTE in July using homegrown cloud-based network deployment

SK Telecom plans to roll out its LTE network to consumers in Seoul in July, and it will be using its own cloud-based network deployment method to do it.

In an interview with FierceBroadbandWireless, SK Telecom's Jin Hyo Park, director, team leader and head of the operator's Access Network Development Team, said the company will incorporate what is called SCAN, Smart Cloud Access Network, to set up an integrated LTE network in the rather dense areas of Seoul. With SK Telecom's SCAN method, LTE network digital units are stored together in one area, while remote radio units along with the antenna is set up in various locations.

SK Telecom believes that SCAN is a highly effective cloud-based network method since multiple remote radio units can be installed according to varying network capacity needs of each area. When examining patterns of data usage, it generally appears in forms of bursts with sudden surges that overload the network. With cloud technology, SK Telecom plans to manage data capacity of the LTE network by grouping the capacity of adjacent base stations like a cloud network. This will allow the operator to flexibly manage data capacity as the clustered base stations can share the load for data surges in close-by areas, allowing for more efficient data management and higher quality 4G network service.

"This way we can get a very flexible network deployment and reduce opex," Park said.

SK Telecom will also be incorporating another piece of homemade technology, Park said. The company plans to apply what it calls CoMP (coordinated multi-point) to its LTE network, which is to be commercialized in July. CoMP refers to a technology that can significantly mitigate service quality degradations that inevitably occur in coverage boundary areas. Traditionally, handsets in base station coverage boundaries suffer from markedly decreased data speed as weakened received signal strength is also affected by nearby base stations' signal interference. CoMP resolves this problem as it enables base stations to share and manage communication status information, thereby enabling handsets to communicate with no signal interference. In other words, wireless base stations that used to work independently coordinate and cooperate to allow handsets to provide the best possible data quality.

SK Telecom is showcasing these technologies during this week's Mobile World Congress.

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