Samsung, SK Telecom complete 3.5 GHz 5G NR trial

Korea’s SK Telecom and Samsung Electronics completed a trial to deliver a 5G end-to-end connection based on 5G New Radio (NR) technology using the 3.5 GHz spectrum.  

The trial took place at Samsung’s R&D center in Suwon, South Korea, and was comprised of Samsung’s 5G virtualized core, virtualized RAN, Distributed Unit (baseband unit and radio unit) and test device based on 3GPP NR standards established to date.

The companies reported seeing speeds over 1 Gbps and a latency of 1.2 milliseconds; the ultralow latency was achievable by reducing the Transmission Time Interval (TTI) to 0.25 millisecond, which when compared to today’s 4G LTE networks is one-fourth the time, Samsung said. In addition to latency improvements, while 20 MHz is the maximum channel bandwidth for LTE, a wide channel bandwidth of 80 MHz was used to make consistent gigabit performance possible in the 3.5 GHz trial.

Competition to be first with so-called 5G is alive and well both internationally and within South Korea’s borders. Rival KT is an official sponsor of the PyeongChang Olympics and is promising to show off the world’s first-ever 5G pilot service using 28 GHz. KT has hopes that its homegrown 5G specification will become part of the global standard for 5G.

SK Telecom is also promising to maintain leadership in 5G. "SK Telecom has successfully acquired all the essential technologies necessary for 5G commercialization using 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz frequencies, made possible through joint efforts with Samsung,” said Park Jin-hyo, senior vice president and head of Network Technology R&D Center of SK Telecom, in a prepared statement. “We will maintain our leadership in 5G by taking initiative in 5G NR standardization and commercialization.”

The 3GPP Release 15 standard is expected to be completed near the end of 2017, and to date, technologies such as numerology, frame structure and channel coding have been defined in the 3GPP NR specification.

“We achieved another milestone today, taking 5G in to the sub-6 GHz spectrum for use cases and applications requiring wider area network coverage,” said Dongsoo Park, executive vice president and head of Global Sales & Marketing Team in Networks Business at Samsung Electronics, in the statement. “The below 6 GHz spectrum has been identified by the industry as ideal for enabling 5G services such as autonomous/connected cars that require a wider area network. Today’s trial with SK Telecom serves as a significant development in our collaborative efforts to accelerate 5G commercialization.”

According to the companies, 28 GHz enables the transmission of large-volume data like high-definition videos at superfast speed thanks to its wide bandwidth availability up to 3 GHz. On the flip side, 3.5 GHz promises wider and more stable coverage. In accordance with this, the two companies say they will continue their joint efforts to create services that are optimized to the distinct traits of 28 GHz and 3.5 GHz frequencies, as well as next-generation network architecture.

RELATED: Sprint tests Massive MIMO with Samsung in South Korea

Samsung’s R&D center in Suwon was the site of Massive MIMO tests that Samsung recently did with Sprint. Those tests showed peak speeds of 330 Mbps per channel using a 20 MHz channel at 2.5 GHz. Massive MIMO is a key element of 5G for providing high capacity in densely populated urban centers and can enable LTE network performance beyond 1 Gbps.