SK Telecom plans world’s first 5G SA service in first half

SK Telecom today said it plans to launch the world’s first 5G SA service in the first half of this year.
SK Telecom engineers at Standalone 5G network testing
SK Telecom, a leading mobile operator in South Korea, has achieved the world’s first standalone (SA) 5G data session on its multi-vendor commercial 5G network.

Engineers at SK Telecom conducted data call on the standalone 5G network on January 16, 2020 in Busan, the second largest city in Korea, using SK Telecom’s commercial 5G network deployed in that region.

The company applied standalone New Radio (NR) software to its existing non-standalone (NSA) 5G base stations to achieve this standalone 5G milestone. SK Telecom’s engineers have also completed multi-vendor interoperability between network equipment of Ericsson and Samsung.

SK Telecom has also applied key 5G technologies such as network slicing and mobile edge computing (MEC) to its standalone 5G network. Network slicing is an essential technology for providing optimal support for different types of 5G services by partitioning a single physical network into multiple virtual mobile networks. MEC minimizes latency by providing a shortcut for data transmission through installation of small-scale data center at 5G base station or router. MEC can improve the performance of 5G services such as cloud gaming, smart factory and autonomous driving.

“With the standalone 5G data call on our multi-vendor commercial 5G network, we are now standing on the threshold of launching standalone 5G service, a key enabler of revolutionary changes and innovations in all industries,” said Park Jong-kwan, head of 5GX Labs of SK Telecom.