South korea SK Telecom First to Unveil Commercial 5G On-Air

South korea SK Telecom First to Unveil Commercial 5G On-Air

South korea SK Telecom Unveil Commercial 5G On-Air

SK Telecom Co., Ltd. (Hangul) is a South Korean wireless telecommunications operator; it is part of the SK Group, one of the country’s largest chaebols. SK Telecom is South Korea’s largest wireless carrier: it leads the local market with 50.5 percent share as of 2008.

SK Telecom was established in March 1984 under the name Korea Mobile Telecommunications Services Corp. But was renamed Korea Mobile Telecommunications Corp.

In May 1988. It was a subsidiary of the state monopoly phone company, Korea Telecom (now known as KT Corp.) until KT sold it off in 1993. In June 1994 SK Group (Formerly Sunkyong Group) became Korea Mobile Telecommunications Corporation’s largest shareholder.

KMTC officially joined the SK Group in January 1997 and changed its name to SK Telecom in March of that year. In October 2000, SK Telecom became the second operator in the world after NTT DoCoMo to launch a commercial 3G service using W-CDMA technology.

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In January 2002, this was followed up by launching the world’s first CDMA2000 1xEV-DO network, offering greatly increased data transmission speeds to preexisting 2G networks.

In May 2005, SK Telecom divested 60 percent of SK Teletech stock to cellphone maker Pantech. SK remains the second largest shareholder by holding on to the rest of Teletech’s stock.

In 2006, the well-known “SKY” brand of mobile devices became fully owned by Pantech as it finalized its takeover of SK Teletech.

The company has evolved from a first generation analog cellular system, to second generation CDMA, then to the world’s first third-generation synchronized IMT-2000 cellular system.

SK Telecom also became the world’s first carrier to commercialize HSDPA in May 2006. SK expanded into the landline market by acquiring second-rated fixed-line operator Hanaro Telecom in February 2008.

Watch SK Telecom 5GX Monthly Data Plans

The company’s online brands include “Nate,” a web portal; “June,” a mobile multimedia service; “Moneta,” an e-banking mobile app; “Nate Drive,” a telematics service and “Digital Home,” an online interface to remote-control household appliances.

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In 2004, SK Telecom launched “Hanbyul,” the world’s first DMB Satellite. TU Media, SK Telecom’s digital media arm, handles DMB TV broadcasts.

In November 2015 SK Telecom announced signing a deal to acquire CJ HelloVision, the country’s largest cable and Internet operator, with the view to merge it with its own cable unit, SK Broadband.

The acquisition, which will make SK Broadband the No. 2 paid cable broadcaster following KT, is being opposed by competitors, who charge that the merger will help SK unfairly dominate the market.

Watch SK Telecom 5GX VR


South Korea has successfully switched on commercial 5G network, officially marking the era of high-speed network. The country’s No.1 mobile carrier has become the first to make a commercial 5G video call, using a prototype Samsung smartphone.

The call was made between SK Telecom CEO Park Jung-ho in the company’s Bundang network management control center in Gyeonggi-do and a staff manager in Myeongdong, Seoul. Park noted increased clarity in phone quality compared to a video call made over 4G LTE, the predecessor of 5G.

SK Telecom’s 5G network currently covers main areas of 13 cities and counties nationwide, including Seoul, four cities in Gyeonggi-do (Seongnam, An-san, Hwaseong, Siheung), six metropolitan cities, Seogwipo in Jeju Island, and Ullengdo and Dokdo Islands in Ulleng county.

Watch SK Telecom BOBO Virtula Reality

5G boasts a 20 times faster data transmission speed than the currently prevalent 4G LTE. 5G has ultra-wide bandwidth, ultra-low latency and ultra-fast connectivity.

Data transmission speed of 5G is 20 times more than 20 gigabytes per second (Gbps), meaning a 2.5-gigabyte ultra-high-definition video can be downloaded in just one second.

The network is currently onlybe accessed by corporate clients. Individual users can start using 5G from April.

The company’s first 5G customer is Myunghwa, a product quality assessment firm in Banwol Industrial complex in Ansan, Gyeonggi-do.

Munghwa uses the 5G network to process ultra-high definition phots of auto components taken from different perspectives as the products are being moved on a conveyer belt.

The images are transmitted using the 5G mobile router to a cloud server, where a high-performance AI interface can instantly identify whether a product is faulty.

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The success of 5G video call signifies that SK Telecom’s journey to 5G high-speed network has officially begun. The company will focus on expanding the 5G-AI convergence ecosystem and generate social values by making efforts to provide the most stable and secure 5G network, leading the advancement of mobile communications.

A brief history of mobile networks: 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, LTE & 5G

Today, in the global mobile communications industry, all the hype is about the next generation mobile network, 5G. The jump from 4G (LTE) to 5G is indeed a profound change in telecommunications industry.

5G is the evolution of 4G LTE that promises faster, more reliable data speeds and connectivity, and less latency. 5G will sure make a killer smartphone feature of 2019 by facilitating data-intensive tasks, such as video calls, cloud service, controlling IoT and more.

With the official launch of 5G high-speed network here in South Korea, let’s look at how mobile networks have evolved over the years.

1G: Voice Only

The first generation of cell phone technology, 1G, began in the early 1980s. This analog telecommunications standard offered only simple voice calls at the maximum speed of 2.4 Kbps. Compare to the succeeding generations of network, 1G has poor battery life and voice quality, little security, and a few dropped calls.

2G: SMS and MMS

The second-generation of cellular telephone technology, 2G, was introduced in 1992. 2G networks enabled digital encryption of conversations and text messages for the first time.

2G can securely deliver call and text, along with data services such as SMS text messages, picture messages, and multimedia messages (MMS) at the maximum speed of 50 Kbps.

The main feature that separates 2G from 1G is that the former added simple text messaging feature. Moving from 1G to 2G indicates a great leap from analog to digital communications.

3G: More Data, Video Calling, and Mobile Internet

3G networks were introduced in 1998, ushering in faster data-transmission speeds. A transition from 2G to 3G provided faster data transfer rates, enabling the first video calls ever.

This is especially suitable for today’s smartphones, which require ceaseless high-speed internet connection for various contents, including web browsing, sending emails, video downloading, picture sharing and more.

The term “mobile broadband” was first applied to 3G. Mobile broadband is a wireless technology that allows you to connect a mobile device such as smartphone or tablet to a broadband internet connection wirelessly through network.

The maximum speed of 3G is around 2 Megabits per second and is capable of data transfer of up to 10 Mbps (or 10,000 Kbps). Compared to 2G’s peak transfer speed which is roughly between 40 and 100 Kbit/s, 3G has the minimum transfer speed of 144 Kbit/s.

4G: Enhanced network speed

The fourth generation of mobile phone communications standards, 4G, was released in 2008. 4G introduced ultra-broadband internet access for mobile devices, allowing many services that we enjoy today.

This much higher data transfer rates are suitable for supporting various mobile services that demand high data speeds such as gaming services, HD mobile TV, video conferencing, and more.

The maximum speed of 4G is at least 100 Mbps for high mobility connections (for example, inside a car) and it goes up to 1 Gigabit per second. It supports more simultaneous network connections than preceding mobile networks.

4G LTE: Advanced version of 4G

4G LTE, Long Term Evolution, is an advanced version of 4G, that allows high-speed data for smartphones and mobile devices. 4G LTE is sometimes referred to as “the gold standard of wireless technology,” with a farther-reaching bandwidth than 4G.

Watch SK Telecom 5GX Smart Office

4G LTE wireless broadband is 10 times faster than 3G and its peak download speed is 1Gbps or 1000Mbps (125MBps).

This high connection speeds allow smooth streaming of live video, uploading and downloading contents and better response times and mobile user experience for multiplayer online games.

5G: life-changing mobile network technology

The fifth generation of cellular mobile communications, 5G, targets high data rate, reduced latency, energy saving, higher system capacity, and massive device connectivity. 5G is one of the fastest, most robust technologies the world has ever seen.

5G is all about delivering life-changing technologies that allow massive amounts of data transfer at unimaginable speeds. This powerful network connectivity will make business more efficient and give consumers access to more information faster.

This will have a massive impact on how we live, work and play– autonomous cars, smart communities, industrial IoT, and immersive education will all rely on 5G.


Oyakhilome Ogbeta is a web developer and networking engineer. Oyakhilome has more than six years' experience in networking. Oyakhilome has a proven track record in networking/web applications deployment.

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